Strange Invisible Perfumes: Limited Editions

Alexandra Balahoutis has created two Limited Edition parfums this season, Flower Powder and Pure Violet. They truly are limited editions as only 6 bottles of both parfums are being offered, each one numbered. The fragrances are only available at the Strange Invisible Perfumes Boutique in Venice, Ca., but can be shipped if you want to buy one unsniffed.

You should know the notes are a guarded secret though, as Alexandra, the creator of Strange Invisible Perfumes, wants them to be mysterious. The press information I was sent consists of Flower Powder: “A powdery floral with an eccentric sense of innocence.” And, Pure Violet: “Despite the fact that violet blossoms cannot be extracted, Pure Violet will even trick the limbic system”.

Despite the hefty price tags of $440 for Pure Violet and $335 for Flower Powder, the 1/4oz bottles are selling, so if you are considering a special holiday purchase either get yourself to the boutique or call in your order quickly.

Posted by ~Trish

Tangled by  RigbyLane on


Winners of Fire & Cream and Essentially Me Samples

It’s celebration time for three lucky Scent Hive winners! Lawladyda and WaftbyCarol won the giveaway for the Strange Invisible Perfumes samples of Fire and Cream. Entangled won the Essentially Me full set of ten samples. Congratulations! I will be contacting you by email for the necessary information.

Thanks to everyone for your comments.

Celebration Lee Krasner

Posted by ~Trish

Celebration by Lee Krasner at


Strange Invisible Perfume’s Latest Release: Fire and Cream

fire and cream

Fire and Cream launches today, the newest fragrance from Alexandra Balahoutis, perfumer and creator of Strange Invisible Perfumes. The name Fire and Cream is not so much descriptive of the perfume, but rather of Ms. Balahoutis, as she created this fragrance for herself. Yet, Fire and Cream not only alludes to her red hair and pale complexion, it also refers to the sky one summer evening when Ms. Balahoutis looked at what must have been a gorgeous sunset and thought, “The sky is full of fire and cream.”

Fire and Cream begins with heaps of pure orange, and a healthy dose of herbaceous white lavender. Both hydro-distilled orange and orange blossoms are in the top notes, allowing for a luscious mix of rich citrus, sweet blossoms and aromatic lavender. The herbal quality continues into the heart of the fragrance where frankincense and tuberose enter the picture. I confess that my nose did not pick up these individual notes, (they are listed on the press release), but I did sense resinous and mildly heady after about an hour. I also took note of vetiver which is listed as a base note, but mingles unabashedly throughout the fragrance hierarchy. In fact, Fire and Cream reminds me of Magazine Street with its similar vetiver vigor, (blended beautifully with vanilla) but Fire and Cream is toned down on the sweetness and turned up on the herbaceousness.

Another similarity to Magazine Street is the well-mannered patchouli dry-down that gives both fragrances an earthy yet smooth base. Fire and Cream still remains much more aromatic than the more confectionary Magazine Street, and I do believe it would wear very well on a man. In addition, the drydown comes full circle with a glimpse of its lovely orange opening. Alongside sandalwood, the final unfolding evokes petitgrain, an essence which can easily be worn by a man or woman.

Fire and Cream also seems to be one of those fragrances that will move effortlessly from season to season. The citrus/lavender duo is not overbearing in its liveliness and the patchouli/frankincense/tuberose triad never becomes a heavy floriental. All notes are well-balanced and being a fan of Magazine Street, I am enjoying that it feels like a familiar favorite, but is different in its cologne-esque edge.

So is there fire and cream in Fire and Cream? I’m not sure the name befits the juice in the literal sense, but I do love the fragrance itself and the story of a stunning sunset as its inspiration. But I’m certainly no red head with a pale complexion. I’m a brunette with brown eyes and olive skin. So Alexandra, you’re gonna have to move over…Fire and Cream is mine!

Leave a comment and you will be entered in a giveaway to receive a sample of Fire and Cream direct from Strange Invisible Perfumes. There will be two lucky winners! You will have until Sunday September 20th at 10pm Pacific time to enter. US entries only this time. Good luck! The winners have been chosen.

Strange Invisible Perfumes Commitment (from their press kit):

Strange Invisible Perfumes is committed to respecting and preserving the earth. Its practices as a company, boutique, and manufacturer are vibrantly green. All products are authentically pure and natural. They are completely free of synthetic preservatives, genetically modified ingredients, parabens, petroleum, coal tar, and industrial phthalates. While sincerely recognizing the value of organic certification, Strange Invisible Perfumes adheres to its own standards of purity and authenticity, which are arguably far more rigorous. The company aggressively pursues ingredients that are organic, fair trade, wildcrafted, and biodynamically cultivated, with every ingredient satisfying at least one measure. All perfumes are set in a base of 100% organic grape alcohol. Ecologically sound packaging reinforces its green stance.

Fire and Cream is available at Strange Invisible Perfumes

posted by ~Trish


Los Angeles Sniffing: Part I

The reason for my Los Angelean journey was two-fold; to visit dear friends and attend Yosh’s perfume exhibit at the natural perfume studio, Blunda. Persephenie Schnyder, the owner of Blunda, has been hosting these events which allow perfumers to showcase their natural perfumes, discuss them, and most importantly, engage with us essence loving scent hounds.

SIP Boutique

But my Southern California adventure did not begin there. When my partner-in-sniffing-crime, duVergne, (who wrote about Ayala’s Blunda event here) picked me up from the airport, we headed straight for Venice. As some of you may know… this meant our destination was Strange Invisible Perfumes. I had never been to the SIP boutique, but immediately felt at home in the shop’s environment and plunked myself down at the bar which beautifully displays their Eau de Parfums and Pure Parfums. I knew duVergne and I would be there a while, and indeed we were. This was in large part due to Nic, one of the best, if not the best sales associate I have ever had the pleasure to meet. She was well versed regarding every scent and had intelligent and thoughtful comments about the fragrances whether they were on the test strips or on our skin. So yeah, we hung out with our new BFF for quite a while.

I finally got to experience SIP’s Black Rosette, an incredibly dry and resinous, leathery rose. Very unique and beautiful, but not quite what I wanted in the summer heat. (Come winter time, I could imagine wanting to cozy up to that one). Prima Ballerina is another rose offering from SIP, but entirely different from Black Rosette. It’s a pretty, rosy floral, with some sage and the subtlest of botanical musk making it an original rose, yet familiar and comforting at the same time. I’m in love with it and was this close to buying a bottle. What finally won the full bottle contest was Magazine Street, that perfect blend of vanilla and vetiver, with just a smidge of patchouli to really bring out vetiver’s herbal quality. I wrote about how much I adore Magazine Street here, so it’s no surprise that’s what I chose. Not to mention that in the Los Angeles summer heat, Magazine Street’s soft vanilla blossomed so elegantly. Yes…the deal was done.


We begrudgingly said our goodbyes to Nic and looked forward to the next day which started on the late side at The Little Next Door. (Many thanks to Ayala for that recommendation!) As fate would have it, Le Labo was unknowingly just a few blocks away. I had no idea I’d glean so much sniffing pleasure from a visit there. Again, a fabulous sales associate, Ellie, made all the difference. She was delightful to work with and allowed me to experience everything in the store at my own pace. Even though Le Labo does use synthetics, this is not always a deal breaker for me if I really love a fragrance and I am pleased to report that they do not use phthalates in their products. While most of the fragrances were interesting and unique, Iris 39 had me in its grip from the moment I sniffed it on the scent strip. So on the skin it went via their dry body oil. Le Labo’s Iris 39 brings forth the violet facet of iris that I love, but it’s not sweet or too precious. It’s also not powdery or soapy, but gently crisp without being woody. I need to spend more time with it, as well as the Oud 29 sample I received.

Le Labo was like a candy store as they have single essences, dried roots and herbs, as well as their Olfactionary for customers to explore. The Olfactionary contains vials of 40 essences, many of which I had never smelled. Tonka bean was probably my favorite single raw material. Alone, it smelled of tobacco, almond and vanilla. It was sweet and intoxicating. Ambrette oil had a beautiful contrast of sweet florals and boozy earthiness. Apart from the Olfactionary were jars of dried ambrette seeds which compared to the oil was much more tannic, similar to that of Hibiscus tea.


Galbanum is not a part of the Olfactionary, but is available behind the counter to smell as well as at least 50 other raw materials. I was particularly enthusiastic about having the chance to partake in this cherished resin which blew me away with its grassy, bitter, herbal woodiness. It packs a mighty punch and I loved every inhalation! Smelling Le Labo’s iris root (orris) was also an extraordinary experience as I was stunned by its warm, mushroom-like quality and its simultaneous tang. It was not overly floral like the iris oil, and just the sight of these dried gems will take your imagination to an enchanted forest.

In the interest of keeping this post a reasonable length, I’ll continue it in a couple of days with more essence discoveries at Blunda as well as the details on Yosh’s exhibit!

Posted by ~Trish

SIP Boutique image from Citysearch
Iris image from
Galbanum image from I Smell Therefore I Am


Strange Invisible Perfumes: Galatea


Galatea begets an image of a bitter-orange tree corridor. Blossoms opening from a balmy night of late spring. Dark silhouettes of lovers loosely hold hands, fingers intertwined. Boozy thoughts dance above them. The trees emit their balsam, finally released from the first true heat of the season. The bark has become balm and essence. It’s a lovely vision, a bit dark in my mind, and this perfume swirls around it like a trance. 


I am in love with Galatea and yearn to have a full bottle. Here’s the caveat; one has to really love this fragrance before buying it as it is only available in parfum strength and is $185 for 1/4 ounce. But neroli is a weakness of mine. I adore its sensual heralding of springtime and slightly spicy undertones. This lovely note of neroli, combined with the sweet warmth of benzoin and the leafy-green resinous quality of galbanum have been orchestrated with an artist’s skill and inspiration. Alexandra Balahoutis, the creator of Strange Invisible Perfumes composed Galatea for herself, which might explain why this is such a perfectly blended fragrance. 


To clarify, the benzoin used in fragrance is different from the medicinal benzoin which is a skin protectant and smells like camphor. Perfumery benzoin is a resin from the Styrax tree which is native to Southeast Asia. Cuts are made in the bark to release the liquid secretion, which later solidifies into a resin after being exposed to air and the sun. The resin smells sweet and vanilla-like, and according to Mandy Aftel in her book Essence and Alchemy, “people tend to find benzoin calming, seductive, sensual and rejuvenating”.


Tuberose plays its part in this perfume as well. But not in the typical bombshell-floral role it’s usually relegated. In Galatea, tuberose has soft curves that cradle the neroli. So subtle is the tuberose, that it only becomes apparent in the base. Providing a richness to the neroli and an evolution for the fragrance to move into deeper territory. But the resinous, booze-like quality that makes Galatea so dreamlike remains constant. 


Galatea is available at  Strange Invisible Perfumes.  Strange Invisible Perfumes does not use any synthetically derived chemicals and all of their products are crafted solely from ingredients found in nature. They use organic beverage-grade grape alcohol as the base for their perfumes. 85-100% of their product is organic and they use organic ingredients whenever possible. Please see their site for more on their green mission.


Galatea decants are also available at The Perfumed Court.


Posted by ~Trish

Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Leon Gerome at


Strange Invisible Perfumes: Lyric Rain



  Oh, let it be a night of lyric rain
And singing breezes, when my bell is tolled.
I have so loved the rain that I would hold
Last in my ears its friendly, dim refraln.
I shall lie cool and quiet, who have lain
Fevered, and watched the book of day unfold.
Death will not see me flinch; the heart is bold
That pain has made incapable of pain.   

Kinder the busy worms than ever love;
It will be peace to lie there, empty-eyed,
My bed made secret by the leveling showers,
My breast replenishing the weeds above.
And you will say of me, “Then has she died?
Perhaps I should have sent a spray of flowers.” 


Dorothy Parker



I had read that Lyric Rain is an intensely strong patchouli perfume, so when I experienced a saturated stargazer lily quality for the first hour, I was taken aback. It was as if the giant flower were hanging from my neck, like an albatross. For me, stargazer lilies are dead weight in a room. Suffocating in their pungent nature, leaving no room for any other olfactory experience. This association might not make a lot of sense, but that was my intuitive response. One that was probably reacting to the highly potent patchouli and jasmine blend. But as the experience finally settled, or maybe lifted is a better word, the patchouli became more clear and also more soft.


Lyric Rain took on a lovely vintage perfume essence with soothing jasmine flourishes. But keep in mind, this “mellowing” of the patchouli is in comparison to its overbearing beginning. Lyric Rain is a patchouli scent through and through. I’m not sure this would be the fragrance to turn a non-patchouli person into the patchouli lover they want to become. But if you adore patchouli, this glorious gem will evolve on your skin and allow you to experience your beloved patchouli in new ways.    

The above Dorothy Parker poem inspired Alexandra Balahoutis, founder and perfumer of Strange Invisible Perfumes, to create Lyric Rain. As an interesting side-note, I read the poem after I had the stargazer lily association. Lilies are so often funeral flowers. The flowers we bring to graves, and this poem clearly is about making peace with death, and one’s own burial. Maybe that is why this perfume is so laden with patchouli. Ms. Balahoutis possibly wanted to stir the wetness of the earth, which patchouli certainly evokes. And jasmine echoes the pungent nature of lilies, and also the vintage nature of Ms. Parker’s poem. The mix of poetry and perfume is intriguing and emotive. For a wonderful exploration of the relationship between poetry and perfume, please take a peek at this blog that is no longer active, but certainly thought provoking and beautiful.  


Lyric Rain is available at Strange Invisible Perfumes and only in the parfum concentration.


Strange Invisible Perfumes does not use any synthetically derived chemicals and all of their products are crafted solely from ingredients found in nature. They use organic beverage-grade grape alcohol as the base for their perfumes. 85-100% of their product is organic and they use organic ingredients whenever possible. Please see their site for more on their green mission.

posted by ~Trish

photograph by shteve on flickr



Strange Invisible Perfumes: Magazine Street

Magazine Street, the fragrance, opens with what some have called the medicinal note common to Strange Invisible Perfumes. This is the first Srange Invisible Perfumes fragrance that I have found to have a medicinal quality, but it is ever so fleeting and it is not disagreeable. Rather, it is an introduction to the interplay between the earthiness of the vetiver/patchouli duo and the sweetness of the vanilla/magnolia duo. And while the patchouli offers an herbal mossiness, within this dance, it is the vetiver and vanilla that dominate the floor. The patchouli rests quietly at the base and the magnolia flutters gently like a butterfly. Ultimately, both flit away leaving Magazine Street all about the balsamy green vanilla one might be thrilled to wear instead of the glut of foody, cloyingly vanillic perfumes on the market today.


Having never been to New Orleans, I cannot muse about the city personally or comment on if the namesake perfume does it any specific justice. But I will say this fragrance could easily be worn on a sultry evening; hold its own in a smoky jazz club and last through several rounds of sazeracs, followed by beignets in the morning. It’s an exceptionally stunning perfume, and I whole heartedly recommend Magazine Street to anyone, not just those who seek natural perfumes. This earthy green vanillic scent will delight you if you wear it, and anyone else who nuzzles in close enough to enjoy it on your skin.


Strange Invisible Perfumes creates their fragrances in two strengths, Parfum and Eaux de Parfum (EdP). This review is for the EdP which is less expensive than the very costly Parfum. (Personally I have found the EdPs to last longer than the Parfums anyway). Strange Invisible Perfumes was founded by Alexandra Balahoutis whose shop is in Venice, Ca. Her ingredients are all natural, organic and never synthetic. Please see her website for her comprehensive green mission statement. 


Strange Invisible Perfumes are available at Strange Invisible Perfumes and Beautyhabit. Decants of Magazine Street are available from The Perfumed Court.

Posted by ~Trish