Notes: Mandarin orange, peach, passion fruit, orchid, gardenia, frangipani, ylang ylang, ginger, galangal, star anise, black pepper, sandalwood, oud, patchouli, oakmoss, tobacco, vetiver, orris root, benzoin, frankincense, styrax, tolu balsam, cacao, vanilla, smoke, civet, ambergris, musk
Les Trésors de Sriwijaya first catches my attention with a complex cloud of ripe, tropical fruit and sweet island blooms, inviting the mind's eye to dive deep into the jungle canopy to the legendary kingdom of Sriwijaya. Before long, I notice faint traces of smoke, and I start to imagine whispy plumes rising up from a network of villages that produce some of the finest riches in the Asian world, such as spices, woods and resins.
Auphorie are masters at creating animalic accords from synthetic and natural botanical sources. The fragrance features a very nice yet fairly safe blend of civet and ambergris. The animalic notes will delight lovers of animalics, yet someone who is unfamiliar with animalic notes probably wouldn't notice them.
In the drydown I notice what seems like caramel. Maybe it's the blend of sweet, vanilla-like benzoin with other balsams that creates this gourmand effect.
Spice is present if I dig for it, but it's mild. If I never saw the notes, I wouldn't think of Les Trésors de Sriwijaya as a spicy perfume. Instead, it fits the floral-woody-musk category very well. Perfumes in that category tend to be predominantly musky with floral and woody tones, and that is what I get here. Mild spices of star anise and black pepper pave the way to subtle but darker aromas.
While the base contains woods and resins, the fragrance on the whole is not as dark as the notes might imply. If you are anything like me, you see "oud" in a perfume and immediately think, "dark" and "Middle Eastern". Les Trésors de Sriwijaya is neither. It's a woody musk with a tropical twist. The tropical fruit lingers for hours, but it's not saccharine, so it brings a nice balance to the fragance to make it easily wearble. It's great for casual or daily use and versatile enough to use in warm or cool temperatures.
The list of notes is long, and the perfume is every bit as complex as it sounds. I feel that different chemistries or even wearing the perfume in different temperatures can bring out different notes, so definitely sample first and see how it swings on you; then try again in a different season.
To me this is Auphorie's easiest pleaser, meaning that it's not challenging like some of their other fragrances can be (I'm looking at you, Binturong!). I'm using Coco Mademoiselle just as a reference point (only the EDT, which is woodier than the EDP and not syrupy sweet as the EDP). Imagine Coco Mademoiselle EDT--lots of synthetic musk, a base of woody amber, a touch of spice. Replace the citrus notes with tropical fruit. Add some naughty animalic notes. If you can do this, you might have an idea of the scent of Les Trésors de Sriwijaya. While easy to wear and versatile, it still very imaginative and beautifully crafted.
Perfume Review: Tauerville Stories "when we cuddle and I can smell your perfume on my clothes" and "hyacinth and a mechanic"
Have you heard of Andy Tauer's Stories, a collection of EDTs from Tauerville that you can only purchase directly from the man himself when he makes personal appearances in boutiques? The first release was "hyacinth and a mechanic", a floral-leather that popped up in Portland and Los Angeles a few months ago. Just my luck that he paid a visit to Tigerlily Perfumery in my hometown of San Francisco to present not one, but two, new additions: "he left his cologne in my bedroom", a citrus-aromatic built around rosemary, and "when we cuddle and I can smell your perfume on my clothes", an oriental-vanilla.
I love the notes of all three perfumes, and they are all different from one another, which is nice. I decided to buy "when we cuddle and I can smell your perfume on my clothes". The Tauerville website makes no mention of the collection, and it is not sold anywhere else online, so an accurate pyramid isn't easy to find, The best I can do is quote a description from a Fragrantica article by Jodi Battershell: "The fragrance: Warm, soft, oriental with notes of vanilla, benzoin, gentle musks, hints of patchouli, and cozy amber."
I found this to be an accurate description to a certain degree. Benzoin is the most recognizable and dominant note on me, by a mile. And I love it! While I have shied away from vanilla-dominant perfumes for some time now, I have been seeking a benzoin-dominant perfume for equally long. I pretty much missed the Prada No.9 Benjoin boat. I blind-bought Guerlain's (imho) lackluster Bois d'Armenie then sold it. This new Stories cologne was the closest thing to pure benzoin I could find. It didn't hurt that it only grew more enchanting on my skin over time, prompting Andy as well as a couple of friends to declare it The One; and it's so exclusive that it's almost a myth. Kind of a romantic thought, eh?
When Andy Tauer, himself, kindly sprayed it onto my arm, I noticed benzoin straight away. He told me the notes ahead of time, which were the same as Jodi mentioned in her article. I noticed vanilla, but I didn't notice musk or patchouli. Instead I picked up traces of citrus, and after a bit of pressing, Andy confirmed that I am not crazy and that there is indeed citrus in the perfume, albeit negligible amounts. I have a decent nose! Hours later I noticed a subtle "perfuminess" sticking out from the intense benzoin. That was the point at which I could "smell your perfume on my clothes", while the huge, comforting blend of benzoin and vanilla acted as a "cuddle". Andy also mentioned that there is a touch of rose in the fragrance, so that is probably what I was smelling.
I'm dissecting this stuff to death, but the reason is because the benzoin and vanilla are so dominant in the fragrance that unless you're a major perfume worshipper with a really developed nose, you may not even notice any of the other notes. Heck, you might not even be able to tell the difference between benzoin and vanilla.
"When we cuddle and I can smell your perfume on my clothes" is certainly a cuddly perfume. The nozzle smelled like vanilla cake batter, or like my great-aunt's kitchen, which always felt really cozy because it was warm and stuffy and perpetually smelled like bread pudding. This just shows how important it is to sample perfume on the skin, versus only sniffing nozzles. Once applied to my skin, it never smelled anything like cake batter. It was never gourmand at any point. But it was indeed soft, sweet and warm--everything a cuddle should be.
On my other arm, Andy sprayed "hyacinth and a mechanic", aptly named, because it smells exactly like hyacinth mixed with a bit of motor oil. Fragrantica lists the notes as: hyacinth, animalic notes, leather and woody notes. I think there should only be two notes--hyacinth and motor oil. Simple.
The hyacinth was quite nice, a perfectly pleasant interpretation of the flower, with that familiar, crisp spiciness. The combination with motor oil is nothing short of odd. I don't see the two notes as complimentary but contrasting instead. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I just don't know what to make of it, the combination is so unorthodox. Well if you know what hyacinth and motor oil smell like, you should be able to imagine them together and be able to decide if it's a scent you might enjoy. It's interesting to smell such a "masculine" note on me as motor oil, and I wonder what it would be like to smell hyacinth on a man's skin. I read somewhere that all of the Tauerville perfumes are experimental, and I would say that "hyacinth and a mechanic" falls into that description. It's interesting and worth contemplating; one that I need to try again if I ever get the chance.
It will be amusing to see what "story" comes next out of Tauerville.
Santa Maria Novella is an apothecary located in Florence, Italy with roots that can be traced back to the 1600's, although its roots as a church and Catholic monastary go back to the 1300's. While it's now a privately owned company, they take great care to stick to the old ways of doing things. Their perfumes are not actually perfumes (I assume that's due to concentration), they are colognes.
As a certified herbalist, I am fascinated with Santa Maria Novella's well-preserved history that shows the link between herbal medicine and perfumery. In ancient times and accross many cultures, perfumery fell under the umbrella of herbal medicine. After all, until modern times perfume was made from herbs, roots, bark, resins, woods, leaves and flowers. Stuff like that. Natural stuff. While many-a-perfumista recognizes Santa Maria Novella as a "perfume house", to this day the establishment is first and foremost an apothecary with an incredible repertoire of herbal perparations that range from digestive pastilles to cat shampoos. It's quite a lot to take in!
I love Santa Maria Novella's tradition of crafting cruelty-free, botanical preparations. In their entire history, their product ingredients have never included animal products or bi-products and have never been tested on animals.
The products and colognes aren't always easy to find and especially to sample. Santa Maria Novella maintains limited distribution by several means. One is that they do not allow third parties to sell their products online. If you wish to purchase any products online, you must either buy directly from them, or their US distributor, or make an actual phone call (I know, weird, right?) to order products from a third party boutique such as ZGO Perfumery in San Francisco. I had wanted to sample Sandalo (Sandalwood) for some time, so I made the trip over to the Castro to give it a whirl on my skin.
Before I get to the review, I want to say a word about the colognes on the whole. I am quite familiar with the house's (apothecary's) style. I've owned four or five colognes and sampled many more. I am always struck by their their naturalness, high-quality, simplicity and genuineness. They are never predictable. With simple names like Iris, Jasmine, Carnation etc., one might expect soliflores, but I have found that the colognes are typically fairly complex. Initially they might smell nothing like the note for which they are named, but they will, at some point in their development, yield that namesake note in a way that is so pure and natural. For example, Fieno (Hay) smells like talcum powder for a looooong time, but well into the drydown you end up with the most pure and beautiful note of hay ever. Another example, Melograno (Pomegranate) begins with a top note of tangy pomegranate, but that soon fades, and we end up with a very high-quality, mossy and gorgeous chypre. When sampling Santa Maria Novella colognes, I would say that if you go into it with any preconceived notions of what you are going to smell, just wipe those notions entirely off of the chalk board!
Review of Sandalo (Sandalwood):
Sandalo begins smelling nothing like sandalwood to the point where it's hard to believe it will evolve into sandalwood. From prior experience, I know to wait it out. At first it smells like a really nice, sweet citrus, like the flesh of an orange, but with a transparent, whispy feel. Soon I notice an unexpected medicinal note that I am not too fond of. The more I scrutinize, the more it seems herbal, perhaps like eucalyptus leaves, a note I avoid like the plague. I don't like it in nature, and I don't like it in perfume. Development takes a long time--the herbal heart lasted about two hours. I still can't believe I am saying this because I don't even like eucalyptus, but the longer it was on my skin, the more it grew on me (no pun intended).
Ever-so-slowly, a serene woodiness creeps in, still not sandalwood, and the scent warmed on my skin and projected very clearly, yet unobtrusively, from my wrist for hours. It took 2-3 hours before I began to smell the incredible creaminess of real sandalwood. At that point, I was definitely swooning. While the eucalyptus note ultimately faded into non-existence, the orange did not. The scent of orange remained on my skin, perfectly combined with sandalwood, for the entire 8+ hours the perfume lasted.
Sandalo doesn't smell like incense sticks, and it's not smoky. I highly doubt that sandalwood incense sticks are made with real sandalwood anyway, since the wood is so costly and somewhat hard to come by these days, especially the Mysore variety. I have smelled Mysore sandalwood essential oil. You really have to relax and inhale gently to even smell it. It is not heavy nor intense. The creaminess of real sandalwood seems peanutty, but it's subtle. It's an inherant creminess that does not smell anything like coconut, amber nor vanilla, although perfumers use these notes to give more oomph in a composition. Once it dries down, Sandalo nails the scent profile of Mysore sandalwood quite perfectly, better than any other perfume I know of. It's like sniffing pure Mysore sandalwood mixed with a hint of sweet orange. The base is a soft, woody scent that is completely unisex and lends a feeling of tranquility.
Sandalo smells uplifting because there are no dark notes. There is no oud to darken it into a wood that matches expectations better, no pepper, no patchouli, no incense. In this regard, I find it different from other sandalwood perfumes on the market. I will eventually add a bottle to my collection, but on this particular occasion I left with a bottle of Tam Dao EDP. In all honesty, I wish I had purchased Sandalo.
Liquid Dreams - A warm and sunny spring day in a bottle! And today literally happens to be a warm and sunny day in early spring. I spritzed on Liquid Dreams not knowing what type of scent it might be, and I am really amazed and impressed with how perfectly it fits in with the weather and the happy mood. I certainly detect linden, which always smells to me like light honey with a just a smidgen of lime peel. Linden is the biggest note, but it is perfectly adorned with other uplifting florals as well as greeness that's similar to newly cut grass, but the green part is subtle. The longer it wears, the more it seems like there is a balsamic quality in the base that makes me think of beeswax or maybe even the tiniest bit of benzoin? This is a very beautiful scent, highly recommended for linden lovers. Linden is a note that I have always adored, but when it's a soliflore it can be overpowering; heady in a way. Here it is perfectly blended so that it's very apparent but very delicate too. Seems like it could be a perfume for spring fairies. Really nice work by Tanja Bochnig!
I thought I was done with my review, but I have to add this. I am sitting down writing this with the windows wide open. There is a spring breeze blowing in carrying the scent of fresh-cut grass (somebody outside was literally cutting grass a few minutes ago). I am amazed at how the scent of the green grass blends with the fragrance that is radiating from my pulse points. It actually enhances and compliments the scent, creating an amazing spring bouquet. I could not be more happy with this perfume today.
You can purchase 30 ml and 15 ml bottles as well as samples and sample sets from April Aromatics.
I grew up very close to the infamous intersection of Haight and Ashbury. The bus line around the corner from my house runs through it, and I spent countless weekends as a teenager hanging out with friends there--window shopping, eating and giggling immaturely as we wandered into smoke shops to check out the shelves of colorful glass pipes and bongs. And sometimes we bought them. By the way, one should never utter the words "marijuana", "weed", "pot", etc. in those stores unless one wants an employee to ask him or her to leave. The merchandise is strictly for smoking pipe tobacco (Ha, yeah, right.).
It's hard to imagine that there is anyone who hasn't heard of Haight-Ashbury, but in case you haven't, here's the significance. Let me start by saying that locals don't refer to it as "Haight-Ashbury," If you want to talk like the natives, it's just called "Haight." If a person said, "I'm at Haight-Ashbury." I would know right away that they were not from San Francisco.
Haight-Ashbury is the birthplace of the hippie movement. Homes are mostly old, beautiful Victorians. But 'til this day, in the midst of the elegant Victorians, one can find all the fashionable tie-dye that one could ever want. I'm not just talking about T-shirts, no, no, I speak of dresses, skirts, bikinis, leggings, baby clothes and so much more.
The neighborhood was home to, like, all the great musicians of the 60's and 70's: Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Santana. So many of them got their start there.
Haight is also ripe with "headshops", although I honestly had never heard that word in my life until very recently. We never called them "headshops", we referred to them as "incense shops" or sometimes "New Age shops."
When I was in my teens, Silicon Valley was booming, and unbeknownst to San Franciscans, it would quickly change things in ways we never could have imagined. Gone are the manners and pleasantries I was used to, the affordable housing, the mom-and-pop shops. They have been replaced by an absurdly high cost of living, gentrification and incredibly snarky attitudes. When I was a kid, I remember my dad telling me that people moved here because they didn't have to be rich to enjoy everything this small city had to offer. An ordinary guy could have his own piece of the pie. Well, times have changed.
While the whole city has changed, one thing that hasn't is the spirit of Haight. While businesses come and go, which is natural, there are still some shops that have been there since I was a teenager, such as the incense shops and Tibetan imports. You still smell weed everywhere you go. There are still people standing around on the street, quietly offering to sell drugs. And about half the people wandering around look like they are on drugs. Food is still affordable. Some people still just want an ordinary burger with lettuce and tomato, not with candied bacon and a drizzle of truffle oil. Some people just want Ben and Jerry's, they don't want lavender ice cream with a balsamic reduction and a sprinkle of hickory-smoked sea salt. Actually, though, I am vegetarian and I would absolutely want all the fancy stuff, but the point is that other people don't, and fairly ordinary food is still attainable on Haight.
In many ways, Haight is San Francisco. It's what gave Americans, and the world, a taste of hippie life, free love and drug experimentation. These are things that influence people to move here to this very day, a certain allure of personal freedom and exploration. Whether freedom is the reality or not is a whole different story, but it's certainly the ever-pervasive perception. Let's put it this way, it's easy to move to an unfamiliar place and think you are free to be yourself, having no idea what is actually going through people's heads. And trust me, things are certainly going through people's heads. I digress....
I was introduced to A Wing and a Prayer Perfumes at the pop-up salon that I wrote about in my last post. The owner, Jane Cate, subsequently sent a mini to me of her perfume called San Francisco, as I told her that I would like to try it sometime. Being San Francisco-born-and-raised, I love to check out perfumes that are influenced by my hometown. There aren't that many perfumes inspired by San Francisco that I know of, and other than Bois de Paradis by DelRae, which is a gorgeous interpretation of the Presidio, none have ever hit the mark for me since.
I wanted to list the notes of San Francisco, but A Wing and a Prayer's shop is closed for a few more days, so I will have to come back and comment later. I have not seen the notes before, so my decriptions are totally subjective and based on my own perception of what I smell.
As soon as I sprayed San Francisco, I was transported to the good ol' days, hanging out on Haight. So many memories of standing at the incense display at the New Age shop and sniffing incense sticks in seemingly endless scents and colors. I always loved sandalwood, vanilla and jasmine, and when I scrutinize the perfume on my skin, those are the notes I pick up immediately. Then I notice a very light touch of patchouli, followed by an orange note that actually grows stronger with time. The orange gives the perfume a hint of something clean and sweet, so the incense is not heavy or oppressive.
After 8 hours, what's left is a very simple yet comforting blend of orange, sandalwood and vanilla. But I find the initial hit to smell just like walking into one of those shops. It's a mixture of incense, candles, soaps, aromatherapy oils and San Francisco fog. The vanilla isn't too strong, which is nice. Too much vanilla would overpower the other notes, but in this case it remains comfortably in the background.
I really love San Francisco. For a moment I wondered if it should have been named Haight-Ashbury, but my answer is no. Haight represents the San Francisco in my heart; the city I love and will always remember before it was spoiled by dot-commers. I feel that San Francisco's image on the national and international stage has already begun to change. People still move here for the perception of personal freedom, but more often nowadays, they come here for tech jobs. With families constantly being pushed out, and mom-and-pop shops being replaced by fancy-schmancy ones, the City, as we affectionately call it and as we once knew it, is slowly fading into non-existence.
There are numerous perfumes on the market that smell like incense. While I own many gorgeous incense perfumes and have sampled even more, almost none of them remind me of San Francisco like this one does.
Many thanks to Jane Cate for her generosity in sending the San Francisco mini.
As always I want my readers to know that I am never paid to write reviews. All words and opinions are my own, honest ones.
Had a great time on Saturday at the Pop-Up fragrance salon held at Zinc Details (a home decor boutique) on Fillmore St. in San Francisco. I arrived towards the end, but it seemed that there was a nice-sized crowd there. I really liked the fact that both mixed media (natural mixed with synthetics) and 100% natural perfumes had representation. For those of you who are on Instagram, I immediately bumped into a fellow perfume worshipper, the awesome @mrcologne76!
You might be wondering, "What exactly is artisan perfume, versus niche or indie perfume?" I shall attempt to explain.
The Art and Olfaction Awards defines the "Artisan" category as, "Created by a perfumer with direct ownership in the company, who blends every formulation in-house without the use of a fragrance house." Auphorie, Papillon Artisan Perfumes and Imaginary Authors are artisan houses.
Compare with their definition of Independent: "Created by a privately-owned company, formulated by a perfumer without a direct hand in every aspect of the production + marketing of the perfume." Basically there is an owner who hires noses to create perfumes for the house. Zoologist Perfumes, ERIS Parfums and Neela Vermeire are examples of independent houses.
When laypeople talk about "indie houses" or "indie perfumers," they are referring to small perfume houses that are owned and operated by the nose, and the nose is the owner, but that would more closely match the definition of an artisan perfumer. Examples of houses that people often refer to as "indie" include Alkemia, Smell Bent and Solstice Scents. These houses, according to the Art & Olfaction Award categorization, would be artisan perfumers.
The salon featured the following perfume houses:
Ineke Perfumes - Mixed Media - Ineke is a house I am very familiar with as it is a local house (San Francisco). Her perfumes are found at one of my favorite boutiques in town, and Anthropology carries her perfumes (although I haven't checked in a while). Ineke is a classically-trained perfumer and makes some seriously wonderful, unique and complex perfumes, all of which deminstrate exceptional skill in fine detail. I own her Briar Rose and Angel's Trumpet.
COGNOSCENTI - Mixed Media - Cognoscenti is a house I have been keeping my eye on ever since I smelled their stunning No. 16 Tomato Leather. I typically don't even like those two notes, but the nose, Dannielle Sergent, has brought such great harmony to their marriage that I found a new appreciation for them. I described Cognoscenti as artistic from the get-go, and I discovered upon meeting Dannielle that she is a painter, architect and designer. Artistry runs through her veins.
Maison Anonyme - Mixed Media - I will not name the nose because, as he explained, the concept of the house is the "luxury of anonymity." Kind of a Wizard of Oz thing going on--what's behind the magic curtain? I could not wear any mixed media that day, but from the tester strips, I can tell this nose showcases his talent well with his first three perfumes. They are beautifully blended, and they contain contrasting notes--one of my personal favorite types of perfumes. So rather than smelling things that "make sense", such as vanilla and cinnamon together or vetiver and citrus, you will get parings such as sharp galbanum with sweet immortelle or church incense with animalic musk. Cool!
La Fleur by Livvy - Natural - The theme with many of her perfumes is flowers, as interpreted by Olivia Larson. Her inspiration comes from her childhood in India. Livvy's perfumes show tremendous skill in creating diverse, complex and lasting natural fragrances. Noteworthy? A Parisian Affair, which resembles classic or vintage perfumes. I thought it resembled Chanel No. 5 and other similar perfumes. No other 100% natural perfume that I have ever smelled mimics a vintage like that, and "modern vintages" are quite the trend lately. Livvy introduced her new collection called "Scent O'Clock," which consists of four different perfumes that can be worn separately or layered. I have smelled two of them, and they are certainly nice on their own, but I need to try layering sometime.
El Jardí Secret - Natural - Truly artisinal perfumes by Esperança Cases Prats. She typically makes very few bottles of each perfume, and the glass bottles that house them are limited as well, so you will never really get the same fragrance nor the same packaging. Some of her perfumes take a year or more to craft. Based in Barcelona, Spain, shipping is difficult to the USA for larger bottles. I sampled the beautiful 1900, which, if I recall correctly, features herbs from Argentina as well as Spain, showcasing the relationship between the two countries. It has an earthy, chocolatey, patchouli-like base that is overlayed with refreshing garden herbs and sweet, innocent florals. The more I wear it, the more heavenly I realize it is. I should have bought the 100-ml bottle for $190 while I could. Definitely my loss! This house won an Artisan Perfume Award in 2016 and was given the title, “Official Fragrance Partner of the TASTE AWARDS.”
En Voyage Perfumes - Mixed Media - I did not get a chance to talk with the perfumer. I have sampled the popular Zelda in the past, but I don't know it well enough to even review it. You guys might know this line better than I do, so feel free to comment below.
Velvet and Sweet Pea's Purrfumery - Natural - I have a few posts about this house and its nose, Laurie Stern, because I simply adore it. The house offers perfumes crafted from some of the finest and rarest natural essences you will ever find anywhere, including some very special antique essences. Her beeswax comes from the hive that she lovingly nurtures in her own garden. Her perfumes are luxurious, complex and soul-soothing. My absolute favorite is her bucolic beauty, Honey. Check out her Signature Collection as well as her adorable Kittylicious Collection! She offers scented lockets, which are charming and make you smell fabulous.
MIKMOI - Mixed Media - I did not get to spend time talking with this perfumer, unfortunately. I have samples of a couple of his fragrances, but I have not had a chance to wear them enough to review them. Again, feel free to comment below.
A Wing & A Prayer Perfumes - Natural - I don't want to speak of the house too much at this point because I am not familiar enough with it. I only got the chance to sniff one perfume on my actual skin, Moonlight Serenade, as the pop-up was closing up for the evening. It's a soft, musky, almost soapy, woody-floral. I am a sucker for those types! It was apparently inspired by Downton Abbey. I bought a purse-sized spray. I will sample more of their perfumes in the future and can comment more later.
Meshaz Natural Perfumes - Natural - Mesha began distilling lavender more than twenty years ago and has expanded her line. I spritzed on Opal Rain. It smelled like lavender and lemon. But Meshaz is not limited to lavender or even other flowers! You will find exotic ingredients in her perfumes as well, such as peru balsam and cannabis.
Olympic Orchids (mixed media) could not make it because of flight delays at SFO. Bummer, as I would have liked to meet the nose in person. I am quite familiar with the house, having sampled at least a dozen perfumes. The original line was based upon some varieties of orchids, but she has a lot of other perfumes that smell very natural, kind of like landscapes. I own Kyphi, Arizona and Cafe V, which is the most incredible creamy sandalwood that exists! The house offers a few 100% natural perfumes.
None of the perfumers use natural animal musks (civet, castoreum, deer) in their perfumes at the present time. If you are as concerned about it as I am, it never hurts to ask the nose before you buy something. But, bravo! You can shop with all of these houses with confidence that, thus far, they are part of the solution, not the problem.
Why can't they have these pop-ups once a month?! They are exhausting but fun!
Thank you for reading today ;) <3
Edit: La Fleur by Livvy's perfumes have won Artisan Perfume Awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and the house was given the title, “Official Fragrance Partner of the TASTE AWARDS”. My apologies for not mentioning it above!
It's a new year, and it's time to turn over a new leaf. You might have noticed in the past few months that my awareness about animal cruelty in the perfume industry (and also fashion industry) is growing rapidly. I don't like the things I am learning about. I would never want any animal to suffer and die because I want to wear perfume. Luckily I am finding that there are indeed a lot of conscientious perfumers out there who do everything they can to avoid using natual animal musks in their perfumes. These are the brands on which I will begin to focus on more and more. I want to show you that conscientious luxury does exist!
I hope to educate my readers on perfume as well as help people understand what happens to these precious animals and why we don't need it to continue. I will be the first to admit: it's not pretty. It's horrfic. But running from the truth will not help to change it. Raising awareness will. Trust me, we can all smell amazing without hurting anyone else. There are plenty of cruelty-free, vegan and 100% natural perfumes out there, and I hope to introduce you to them if you are not already familiar.
I hope you will stick with me on this journey and keep up with the blog posts. There is A LOT in store for 2017, and I can't wait until the time is right to share more with you. Thanks for reading!
I hope everyone had pleasant Holidays, and Happy 2017 to all! I just returned from a relaxing 8-day cruise from my hometown of San Francisco to Mexico. I haven't had a real vacation in years, so this was just what I needed. And it was imperative that I chose the right perfumes to bring with me.
I knew that for the sunny weather, jasmine, one of my very favorite flowers in perfumery, would be a necessity. I have several jasmine perfumes, so it was a matter of choosing the right one. I felt I wanted something with a spiritual element to it to match the vibe of Mexico, and I am so glad that Fleur de Seduire by La Fleur by Livvy came to mind. This house is all-natural and cruelty-free, and it smells absolutely amazing. It's a beautiful and unusual combination of jasmine and myrrh that always leaves me with the impression of the scent of sandalwood and jasmine incense sticks mixed together. A departure from my usual fresh jasmines. I questioned whether it might be cloying (sillage and longevity are great, by the way), but I took my chances, and it turned out to be perfect for the warm sands and bright sunshine of Cabo San Lucas.
Cabo San Lucas, located at the tip of Baja California, is definitely the place to be if you are a beach bum. The weather was perfect. You could lie in the sun without any shade, and it did not feel miserably hot. The sand was so nice. It looked and felt just like brown sugar. I reveled in lying in it and running my arms through it. The water was clear and clean and looked like brilliant shades of aqua and azure blue. The water was a bit chilly though. We spent a couple hours sunning and swimming, and then we enjoyed a nice meal of tacos at a sit-down restaurant before rushing back to our ship to sail away.
We also visited the port city of Mazatlan, a city with rich history, founded by the Spanish in 1531. It is home to Pacifico Brewery, a beer company that was founded by Germans in 1900. I guess there is a good amount of German influence there, but I was not there long enough to see it or learn about it. Mostly I was attracted to Mazatlan's Old Town, with its colorful buildings and Spanish colonial-style architecture.
While I was walking the streets of Old Town, I stumbled upon a small tree with beautiful flowers of an uncommon and very tempting shade of dark pink. Tempting meaning that I absolutely had to pluck one to bring with me and savor (sorry, tree!). As soon as I smelled it, I knew it was plumeria, a flower that some know as frangipani. But this plumeria looked smller and more delicate than the ones in Hawaii, so I didn't recognize it until I smelled it. The scent isn't easy to descibe because it is so unique. It's not like jasmine or gardenia, but it smells tropical and sweet. It's a smooth scent, not sharp nor intense, and it doesn't have any type of indolic element to it. By the way, La Fleur de Livvy offers a perfume called Fleur d'Aspiration, one of the best plumeria perfumes I have ever smelled. It smells like the real flower. I deeply regretted that I did not own it, as it would have been perfect for my day in Mazatlan.
Over and out for now ;)
I won a sample of Snowshoe Pass (thank you, Solstice Scents), and it is everything I imagined it would be and more!
The fragrance is a gorgeous, delicious, creamy mint. Peppermint ice cream is my favorite flavor--specifically peppermint, not green mint with chocolate chips, just white peppermint, and this reminds me so much of peppermint ice cream. It also makes me think of Junior Mints.
While Snowshoe Pass is certainly gourmand, I was very pleasantly surprised at the fact that it also smelled like a bonafide perfume, in every sense of the word. It's not just a linear, one-dimensional novelty scent. There is more going on than one might assume. When I saw aldehydes in the notes, I thought it was genius. I really smell them, and they are what makes Snowshoe Pass so wearable, not completely and totally edible. I could see myself wearing this year-round. I also get a lot of amber in the base, which lends to the creaminess. They certainly did not go nuts with vanilla but added just a touch.
The mint is actually very discreet. I would not characterize Snowshoe Pass as "fresh", and luckily it also does not smell anything like toothpaste. The blending of mint, as well as the other notes, is so well-done that it is truly a full-bodied fragrance.
Everything I have ever sampled from Solstice Scents has been fantastic. I feel they do gourmands beautifully but also some more natural, woody fragrances.
If you would like to check them out, you can order samples and full bottles on their website:
Jewelry of Heaven. Isn't that a fantastic name for a perfume? And the fragrance itself is truly a precious, exquisite treasure. I smell beautiful, lush red roses coupled with a hint of bright, radiant jasmine. What caught me off-guard was a note that I perceive as blood orange, and it gives the perfume a fruity quality. Not jammy, but sort of candied like marmelade, so there is a sweetness but also a juiciness. There is also something that smells faintly like candle wax and maybe just a touch of vanilla; maybe not. I'm not sure, but it's slightly creamy. It drifts up to my nose and just smells like a summer breeze--sweet, warm, fragrant. Glorious!
Jewelry of Heaven is available at the Purrfumery's website in various sizes, concentrations, and price points. I have tried one of her solid "crème" perfumes, and they are just phenomenal in a super luxurious, long-lasting organic jojoba and beeswax base.