Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Natural Perfume Review
The description states, 'Bright citrus notes blend into deep jasmine and violet, and end on notes of soft vanilla and exotic sandalwood'. When I first sniffed it I thought there was something off in this perfume, something kind of sticky and sweet and not altogether pleasant ~ nearly synthetic smelling. I attributed this to the violet accord, which ran rampant, taking my nose down memory lane with images of mom's Avon catalogs and myriad icky perfume samples laid out on the livingroom coffee table, and, oddly enough, the soft ethereal scent of Mrs. Bali's nearly~orange face powder, which I adored. Can you say 'conflicted'? The dry down was not exciting, emitting some warmth as the vanilla and sandalwood notes unfolded, only slightly tempering the banshee violet. I detected no 'bright citrus notes' or jasmine, which might have helped my experience with this particular perfume. I suppose it just didn't work well with my chemistry, and I'm guessing I have a particular aversion to anything remotely violet-like, even if it is a natural concatenate. I believe this perfume can be made outstanding by eliminating some of the heavy violet accord.
'A blend of many elements including true jasmine, soft vanilla and sandalwood from the tropics'. Now this one I almost liked. It started out funky, with a weird baby wipes *slash* flower combo (ylang?) that just twacked me out ~ I love the scent of baby products, but a baby product inspired scent as a personal perfume doesn't do a thing for me. Luann Marie dried down to a soft, powdery, pretty scent, bringing to mind a coquettish pre-teen with socks in her bra batting her lashes at the bathroom mirror. I detected a heavy hand with vanilla, and that was ok. It blended nicely with the florals applied. Like I said, I almost liked this one. Too young for me, though. I would, however, allow my pre-teen daughter to wear Luann Marie.
These were the perfumes I was most interested in testing. These perfumes, which are meant to replicate the essences worn by kings and queens in the ancient world.
Part of the copy included with the sample read, 'Egyptians loved the mystic lotus blossom, Romans favored roses, and Greeks the floral-herbal scents of the Mediterranean. We have blended the aromatic favorites of these three ancient cultures into a truly original "perfume of antiquity"'. Other than that, you don't get much by way of what is actually in this perfume. Predominantly rose, Cleopatra VII is not bad. It's not a knock-you-off-yer-feet rose scent, just a subtle, nearly-there scent. I've never smelled 'mystic lotus blossom', so I don't know what I was 'sniffing' for. I did, however, detect a soapy scent. Like Ivory. Soapy smelling perfume . . . strange, but not altogether unpleasant. ** I received the samples for these perfumes at the beginning of a head cold, so I felt it wasn't fair to leave this review with my not-so-great observations. I re-tested this, and all the other perfumes, a few weeks later when the virus had run its course, and my impression of this particular perfume changed ~ a lot. The rose is dominating in this blend, full and robust and beautiful ~ be-yoo-tee-full! There is a subtle green note which laces through the rose, and a sweetness I'm guessing is the 'mystic lotus' hovering above the rose, making Cleopatra VII one of the very finest natural perfumes I've ever tried.
'. . . was created for everyone, everywhere, using the same aromatic materials as Alexander the Great would have found in his empire'. I had a flashback to the movie 'Bridget Jones' Diary' when I read this description, to the scene where Bridget's mum introduced Bridget to the orange fella she'd left her husband for and he (the orange fella) was ogling her bracelet . . . y'know, at the Tarts and Vicars party. Anyway . . . This had some of the same oozy baby booty wipes smell as Luann, but with a coriander (or was it calamus?) kick. Laden with spices like cassia and clove, it did project a masculine tone that was only faintly sexy. I might have liked it better if I had used a man as the test subject.
~Queen Nefertiti Perfume~
The exact copy reads 'This beautiful queen of ancient Egypt, Nefertiti, 1340 BC was the symbol to all of beauty, grace and mystery. "Queen Nefertiti Perfume" is a re-creation of the perfumes of her time. It is hand-made of the same aromatic materials the ancient Egyptians used ~ myrrh, frankincense, cassia and many others. It is based in a lightweight oil, not alcohol. It is spicy and warm in character.' Queen Nefertiti smelled like cassia in rancid oil. Too much cassia. Very bad oil. Very sad reviewer. I hope and pray that what I received was a bad batch and not the product 'as is'.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
The Goodie Bag
Patchouli Absolute from India ~ Oh My Gosh! Black like tar, smoky like old burned wood, and the best part? Wine! Smells like a nice, rich, oak~y glass of Merlot or Shiraz. Now THIS is what you use in perfume, not straight up patchouli with its powdery top note, but this stuff, with big, heavy feet and a lush, robust bottom! Love it!
Artemesia (eo) from South Africa ~ Pushes out of the bottle like it's exhaling. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Smells like a combination of German chamomile FLOWERS, not eo, yarrow FLOWERS, dry grasses and bits of sage and lavender. Beautiful oil. Would make a luscious top note for a lavender theme perfume.
Petitgrain Bigarade, organic from Egypt ~ I think petitgrain is my favorite oil in the non-earthy tableau of essences. It has some of the same floral notes as neroli but lacks the heavy sweetness. And petitgrain 'sticks', whereas neroli, expensive as it is, is an extremely fleeting essence. In combination, they're a one-two knock-out punch! I'm experimenting with a perfume oil for my granddaughter using lime, petitgrain, neroli and beeswax absolute ~ so far I've got a delicate, feminine, sweet, citrusy, well-grounded girleh scent that I think she'll enjoy. Smells a little like candy. As for this petitgrain, I'm so NOT disappointed by it at all. It's the best I've smelled yet and it should prove itself well in some of the blends I've already been working with.
Ambrette CO2 from India ~ back a year or so ago I ordered some ambrette from another supplier. I remember not being terribly impressed and basically not 'getting' the brouhaha that all the natural/botanical perfumers were making over it. Now I get it. This is the musk note I've been looking for. That animalic essence that digs its fingers (paws? hooves? horns?) into the ground and won't let go. However, it has a funky top note. Kind of like dill for a fleeting second, then the musky, sweetness comes through. You have to remember, all these descriptions come straight from the bottle. When diluted and blended down or into other aromatics, these essences take on a different tone completely. I'm really looking forward to playing with this stuff.
Vanilla CO2 ~ smells like vanilla. Rich, heavy vanilla. I only bought a sample bottle so I don't really have a lot to go on. I do like it, though. It's rounder, fuller and sweeter than any other vanilla I've used. I once bought a vanilla oleoresin from a supplier on the east coast ~ that stuff must have had something in it, synthetics or solvents or something, because everything I used it in ended up smelling like rubber! And it was darker. This CO2 is cream colored and looks a little like butter cream frosting. Cool stuff.
Lavender Absolute ~ no further information was provided except that I got it for free. I ordered an ounce and was sent a sample ~ must be out ~ too bad, because it's divine. Lavender absolute is as different from lavender eo as patchouli absolute is from patchouli eo. Richer, fuller, rounder, more floral than herbal. It has a sweetness and heaviness that lavender eo lacks. Absolutely perfect for perfume and I'm thinking it would be great in soap as well. Since an ounce is something like $24 (or less), it's well worth it to get something more out of your lavender products.
Aglaia Concrete from China ~ aka Peppery Orchid Tree ~ oh, dear. Light, airy, floral, fruity ~ smells of peaches and baby's breath and fresh breezes. I have no idea how I'm going to use this essence, but I'm surely looking forward to it! Top note ~ definitely a top note!
Rosa Bourbonia Absolute from India ~ aka Edward Rose ~beautiful! Nice, fat, heavy floral rose with a hint of earthiness. Has almost a tobacco~y back note to it ~ really nice. This isn't the kind of rose you'd use in a girleh girl type perfume. This is the kind of rose you'd use in a WOMAN's perfume! Bold and voluptuous and confident and fearless ~ that's what this Edward projects.
Jasmin Auriculatum from India ~ I've been looking and looking and looking for this jasmine! Completely different from sambac and grandiflorum in so many, many ways. Auriculatum is a hopping sprite intent on mischief whereas sambac is a lusty woman intent on you-know-what, and grandiflorum is the 1950's Hollywood diva/whore. This is the jasmine you smell in the tropics. The jasmine on the Hawaiian breezes that makes you wanna run barefoot in the sand and kick up your heels. This is a coy, prepubescent jasmine compared to the other two 'lady' jasmines. Ahh, I can't wait to play with this one!
Champa Concrete ~ this smells unbelievable. For a split second, at the beginning of the sniff, you *almost* smell wintergreen ~ *almost*, but not quite. It doesn't fill out and suddenly you smell ~ a massage parlor! All these different scent molecules bombard your head and it's very hard to distinguish what's what. Really, I can't even tell you what it smells like ~ like a hundred different things at once, all soothing, all relaxing. Perhaps the scent will separate a bit once it's been diluted. It's almost too much to take in the way it is. I really, really like it.