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.
Incense, Cannonball Flower, Iris, Mixed Spices, Amber, Labdanum, Laoatian Oud, White Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Caramel, Black Coffee, Civet, Castoreum, Musk, Ambergris
I was about to pull the trigger on a bottle of Eternal Voyage when Auphorie announced their new trio of Extraits. When I saw Binturong, a vegan animalic perfume, I simply had to make it mine. Bought it instead, blindly, and I adore it!
Binturong is indeed very animalic. What I get upfront reminds me of ambergris, a bit of barnyard stank going on with a beautiful dark smokiness. I thought of castoreum as it smells faintly leathery. I get a touch of incense with woody notes and a subtle, nearly imperceptible note of bitter coffee.
As it develops, Binturong takes on more iris and caramel as well as a mysterious floral note. I have to assume it's cannonball flower, but I have never smelled the real thing. This floral note smells a bit like an exotic white flower, but it is not intense or heady in comparison to, say, jasmine or gardenia. Might be more along the lines of champaca or even plumeria (frangipani), which are also exotic but not screechy.
The drydown, after several hours, takes on an animalic muskiness that reminds me most of civet. At this point there is a lot of amber too. A nice, silky powderiness develops as well. It's not powdery like aldehydes or baby powder but more like the feel of suede. I think I get a lot of iris because this is how perfumes that are heavy on iris always behave with my chemistry. It's fantastic.
When I wake up the next morning (longevity is forever on me), it smells like it could be a Chanel perfume, something similar to 28 La Pausa. I still get tons of iris, all the way into the drydown, when all traces of caramel and animalic notes have dissipated.
It is hard to truly characterize Binturong. It's like a floral-woody-musk that is heavy on amber and animalics and has gourmand accents. At times it seems like an oriental.
The animalic notes work great on my skin, never overbearing or gross or even teribly funky. I can see it being too much for some people, but if you are like me, with a "bring it on!" attitude, then you should seek out Binturong. I am so glad I own this one!
It's truly a testament to the saying "where there's a will, there's a way." These guys are totally against animal cruelty, and I am astounded at the animalic accords they have been able to create and showcase in such a magnificent, complex perfume such as Binturong. It's like a classic iris perfume kicked up a few notches. Super avante-garde and exceptionally clever.
Please don't forget that each time you make a purchase, you are helping those in need. Auphorie donates part of their earnings to carefully selected charities every single month.
You can purchase Auphorie products by clicking here.
It was a cold and rainy day, but it was time to swing by Velvet and Sweet Pea's Purrfumery again to hang with Laurie Stern, a marvelous natural botanical perfumer. We spent the afternoon chatting about (what else?) perfume and some of the cruelty issues in the industry. But mostly it was just to hang out in her whimsical space and enjoy a feast of gruyère, truffle brie, fresh organic fruit, spinach quiche and Dutch apple cake. The view of San Francisco Bay didn't hurt either!
I got to play around with some of Laurie's perfumes as well as check out her awesome collection of decorating materials that she uses for custom perfumery. Many of her materials are vintage, like her awesome collection of ribbons. I spritzed one perfume on each wrist. On my left, I sampled Songbird, a gorgeous oriental-floral with tuberose, rare boronia and antique cinnamon. On my right, I sampled her newest perfume, Highway, a wonderful woody fragrance with a hint of sweet vanilla and fruity cassis. While they both smelled utterly divine upon application, three hours later when I remembered to smell each wrist again, I was simply blown away. The perfumes somehow smelled different than when I first applied them, yet it's hard to explain exactly how. The notes didn't necessarily smell different, but it's as though they literally bloomed on my skin; becoming deeper; fusing with one another somehow. If you have not tried her perfumes, you really must! Natural perfumery is a very different experience from mixed media or totally synthetic.
I have been wanting to dabble in natural perfumery for awhile myself. That's how I met Laurie in the first place--I took her class in Oakland. I wanted to smell pure orris butter. I have been thinking about ordering some from Eden Botanicals. As a clinical herbalist, I already have a lot of medicinal and perfume grade essential oils in my apothecary as well as organic grape alcohol and carrier oils that I can dabble with. My problem is a lack of fixative material to make a perfume last more than an hour or two. For those who don't know, orris butter is one of the finest, most expensive ingredients in perfumery.
Not a big surprise that Laurie had some orris butter to show me. I never expected it to be so dark. I have used orris powder in herbal preparations, and the powder is gray-ish and chalky, so I was expecting it to look more like gray Elmer's Paste. The butter looked and behaved exactly the same as apple butter. I put some on the back of my hand, very thin, and I let it melt into my skin. I was very surprised at how truly earthy it smelled, like dirt. If you said it was some type of patchouli, I would not know the difference. It smelled nothing like those "powdery, waxy makeup" perfumes we ladies often rave about, but I need to wear it more to truly observe. Laurie was kind enough to send me home with a teency bitmto experient with.
I was sorry to leave the Purrfumery, but it won't be my last visit. Laurie gave me such a sweet and thoughtful goodie bag to take home. I am always raving about her Honey perfume (I have one of her perfume lockets that contains a solid version of it, and I am totally addicted), and the bag contained a darling little EDP in Honey. She also included an unbelievably fragrant Rose Hydrasol as well as a jar of intoxicatingly aromatic Monkey Cat bath salts, which feature oils of basil and citrus. I must have done something good in my lifetime to be so spoiled! I am excited to discover Honey in a new concentration, and I would also like to try layering it with my solid perfume.
If you are reading this, Laurie, thank you times a million! Simply put--you are pure delight! Until our next visit....
I was doing some shopping the other night when some Penhaligon's bottles caught my eye in a storefront. It has always been hard to find Penhaligon's to sample in San Francisco. I then realized that it was an actual Penhaligon's boutique! I spoke briefly with an SA, and she said that they are popping up worldwide.
Here is what Penhaligon's has to say about it, from their FAQs page:
-Do you use badger hair in your shaving brushes?
-Yes we do as this is by far the most superior fibre for applying shaving lubricants. However, as a part of gaining our warrant status we have proven to the Royal Warrant Holders Association (who re-issued our warrant in 2006), that our shaving brush supplier only purchases from ethical badger farms in a part of the world where badgers are not endangered and are in fact primarily farmed for their meat.
While I love the scent of Lothair, I can't buy it. I have turned towards not supporting perfume companies that sell stuff like natural brushes, leather, etc., as I learn more about cruelty in the perfume and clothing industries. It's not cool at all.
It was fun to check out the new shop, and I am glad I got some clarification on whether they are a vegan company or not (they aren't), and also to provide this info to those who might have the same questions as I did. I still appreciate, in any case, that their perfumes have been formulated to not contain anything that is produced by cruel methods. And they smell so good! Now, if they could just ditch the brushes and leather, it would be perfection.
One thing I can say with confidence is that nobody does incense quite like Auphorie. Every perfume from this house that I have sampled features incense in one form or another, and it is always a superior quality of incense than in any other perfume I can think of.
Please dont cringe at what I am about to say, but do you remember Sunflowers from the early 90's? I still love that stuff, and it was all the rage with 11-year-olds in my day. Elfen Spring is like the most beautiful version of Sunflowers imaginable. It's like Sunflowers with fresh gardenia and a deeper base of ambered musk. The scent drifts up to my nose for several hours. No problems with sillage nor longevity from two sprays to the wrists.
Elfen Spring is totally different from any of their other perfumes. It has more of a perfumey feel versus a dark, unisex, modern, no-top-notes type of perfume. It smells very high quality and very elegant.
I would also put Elfen Spring into the same category as Dia Woman because they are both floral, fruity, musky and feminine. So if you like fruity-floral, clean, and musky, please give Elfen Spring a shot. I want a full bottle pretty badly...and Heaven knows I will get one eventually!
Bottles ($99 for a 50-ml EDP) as well as samples are available at Auphorie's website.
Notes: Madonna lily, Jasmine Grandiflorum, Orris butter, Sandalwood Mysore
I am a Leo, and we lions go gaga for luxury. When I read that The Peradam contained real orris butter, Mysore sandalwood (sustainably harvested) and a rare extraction of Jasmine grandiflorum, I could not wait to get my paws on it.
It's a simple perfume in a way because (it would seem that) it's purpose is to showcase those three key ingredients. Imagine the scent of orris butter, pure jasmine and sandalwood individually, and then imagine them blended 1:1:1. That's what The Peradam smells like.
When it hits my skin, it smells like a glob of wet, starchy, gray chalk. The jasmine is equally intense, luminous, almost too sharp. These two ingredients blended together create an odd juxtaposition of dark and bright. I have never experienced them together so prominently, so at first it feels confusing and unfamiliar; uncharted territory for me.
Soon I begin to smell something faintly woody and smoky, like the scent of burnt wood that lingers in the air from a wood-burning stove. The perfume behaves like smoke too. It clings to things. For days after I sprayed the perfume on my wrists, I could smell that smoky note each time I walked past the spot in my room on which I was standing when I sprayed. It only smelled smoky, not like jasmine or orris, so it took a while to realize it was The Peradam. The smokiness is one of my favorite features of the perfume....after the orris butter.
Sometime in the drydown, the orris butter blooms. No longer is it the chalky, gray, arguably oppressive scent of which it started out. It softens, sweetens, and literally melts into an oily, creamy scent that resembles salted sweet cream butter. This is my very favorite part of the perfume's development [sound of clapping hands, with eyes bulging and tongue hanging out of mouth].
As the jasmine relaxes and mellows, the three key ingredients combine to create something more cohesive and familiar. The drydown smells like something I would describe as femme fatale, oozing with allure, stylish, modern-vintage and a little bit shabby-chic. The scent is a soft, plush, cozy, rounded, rich floral with a delicate sweetness that reminds me of violets. Very beautiful and addictive.
From my subjective standpoint the notes are: Jasmine, orris powder, sandalwood, smoke, wet paper, salted butter, suede, violet
The Paradam is a gorgeous perfume, not to be missed. This is one of those perfumes, like Tauer's masterpiece L'Air Du Desert Marocain, that every niche newbie or seasoned niche aficionado should at least sample, even if sheerly to experience the qualilty of the raw materials.
I purchased my bottle from Indigo Perfumery. It's $130 for a 50 ml bottle and $4 per sample.
>Perfumes that seem related: Hedonist Iris by Viktoria Minya, 28 La Pausa by Chanel and Angelique by Papillon Artisan Perfumes