Monday, November 23, 2015

Subscription Review; Scent Trunk

Scent Trunk has a good group of people behind it, which makes talking about their service pretty easy. Jolisa did an awesome job curating my box this month, I enjoyed each of the three scents, which doesn't happen often! The subscription arrives with three samples, each with their own information card which details the scent description, notes, sillage, longevity, and best wear time. In addition, there is a card that includes the retail price for each fragrance, the country from which it originates, and information about the brand. AND, something I enjoy quite a bit is the inclusion of fragrance strips! Sometimes you don't want to spray it on yourself for the first test, so this makes it nice.

The 3 fragrances included in my box this month were:
  • Musc by Mona Di Orio
  • Diamond Jubilee Bouquet by Grossmith
  • Cotton Musk by Raymon Monegal
Short scent reviews after the photos...









Mona Di Orio; Musc
neroli, rose, angelica, heliotrope, tonka bean, musk

Musc is best described by a very clear adjective: adorable. Ultra feminine. It begins with a citrusy rose and dries down to sweet heliotrope and clean musk; overall it exudes a very fem, powdery vibe.

Raymon Monegal; Cotton Musk
gardenia, rose, vanilla, vetiver, white musk, incense

Cotton musk smells just as it should be implied. It is a freshly laundered, white cotton t-shirt that has been hung on the line to dry, accidentally left out in the rain, and then left to dry again. The florals and musk are most prominent here, lending an ultra clean vibe.

Grossmith; Diamond Jubilee
narcissus, citrus, carnation, iris, vetiver, tonka bean

Diamond Jubilee is possibly the most interesting olfactive experience of the bunch. At the start, this juice is a little pungent. I wasn't sure I'd like it, but the more it dries down, the more into it I am. There is a blast of spicy-floral, citric earthiness at the start. Carnation is a main player on my skin, it stays throughout and eventually rounds out with a little sweetness that I really enjoy. It puts me in mind of vintage makeup.



*Box provided by Scent Trunk





Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Review: Nicolai Parfumeur Createur Juste un Réve

Notes:

coconut, apricot, jasmine, tuberose absolutes, sandalwood, & vanilla

Image from: pnicolai.com

Just a dream. Never have I smelled a perfume with a name so appropriate. Ironically, I've discovered it at a time in my life which I've found myself frequently wondering if I'm dreaming, because things are just going too well (is that a thing?). The recent string of events I've experienced have been hauntingly surreal — in a beautiful way — which makes me question every outlook on life that I've ever had up until this moment. So, I'm staking my claim on Juste un Réve as the scent which will forever resemble the monumental turn of events in my life, because it only seems fitting…

Parfums de Nicolai has rapidly become a favorite house of mine, Patricia does hypnotic and dreamy  (pun intended) olfactive work, the kind which is easy, but not dumbed down or simplistic. Juste un Réve quite literally seduced me. I received it in a gift of samples from a fellow perfume-lover (Heyyyy Rita), who shares a mutual love of Nicolai Parfums. As I was going through the samples, I smelled a heavenlyyyy aroma oozing from the lot of samples, and I immediately turned into a savage trying to get to the source. Source found. Bottle immediately ordered. And so here we are.

Juste un Réve floats out in an atomized puff of whimsical tuberose and jasmine; the airiest infusion of tuberose I have ever had the pleasure of sniffing. Combined with coconut and vanilla, these overtly feminine florals are sweet and creamy with a — not too — tropical air. Juste un Réve begins to feel velveteen, almost as though the apricot skin were tactile; a soft, wispy fruitiness to keep this potion feeling ever mystical. This juice keeps its head in the clouds, even with the addition of a quiet sandalwood, nothing can ground this quixotic potion…and I'd have it no other way. 

The way the notes in Juste un Réve combine results in an airy, clean, and slightly powdery perfume. This is not like waking up from a nightmare, relieved that it wasn't reality. But it's like waking up from a utopian dream. A dream which is better than your reality. Waking up and whispering to yourself "It was just a dream," hoping that you'll return there in your next slumber. 

Juste un Réve can be purchased at $50 for a 30ml bottle

Longevity: 1/5
Projection: 2/5


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sixteen Super Fragrances for Fall

Okay, okay, so what if fall is halfway over. I'm a procrastinator in every sense of the word. Cut me some slack. Autumn is my faaaaaavorite time of year, so I felt obligated to do my very own fall fragrance list. Let's do this!




Bonfire Vibes
Smoky, Smoldering, & Dry


Imaginary Authors; A City on Fire  - $85/60ml
cade oil, spikenard, cardamom, clearwood, dark berries, labdanum, & burnt match

A perfect imitation of a smoke-infiltrated sweatshirt after an evening spent laughing and drinking hard cider around a campfire with friends.

Tauer Perfumes; L'air du Desert Marocain - $130/50ml
coriander, cumin with a hint of petitgrain. The heart features rock rose and jasmine. The base includes cedar, vetiver and ambergris

A much less literal representation of a bonfire is Andy Tauer's L'air du Desert Marocain. Dry and smoky, but more reminiscent of an eclectic home scented with rosy incense, and heated by a wood-burning fireplace.

ROADS; Harmattan - $155/50ml
lavender, vetiver, oud, saffron, black pepper, tuberose, rose, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, bourbon, tonka bean, frankincense, patchouli, & myrrh

Oud-lite. An earthy, saffron-infused wood, charred ever-so-slightly.

Pinrose; Campfire Rebel - $50/30ml
whiskey, raspberry, burning oud wood, vetiver, vanilla bourbon

Very campy, with an infusion of sweetness. Like you're roasting marshmellows on a crackling flame.



Corn Mazes, Carnival Rides, & Thanksgiving Pies
Sophisticated & Satiating Sweets 

L'Artisan Parfums; Dzing! - $90/100ml
leather, ginger, tonka bean, musk, white woods, caramel, saffron, toffee, candy apple, & cotton candy

Squeeee! My beloved Dzing! A carnival petting zoo mixed with leather and sweet treats.

Serge Lutens; Chergui - $150/50ml
tobacco leaf, honey, iris, sandalwood, amber, musk, incense, rose, & hay

Like being taken on a hay ride by a man smoking a corncob pipe. Sweet, powdery tobacco with an infusion of honey and hay.

Bois 1920; Sushi Imperiale - $205/100ml
bergamot, mandarin orange, lemon, pepper, nutmeg, jasmine, rose, star anise, cinnamon, sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, tonka bean, & madagascar vanilla

Hot, cinnamon-y apple cider with a glorious interweaving of fresh men's cologne.

Etat Libre d'Orange; Like This - $85/47ml
yellow tangerine, ginger, pumpkin, immortelle, Moroccan neroli, Grass rose, vetiver, heliotrope, & musk

Golden leaves, pumpkin pie puree, and bright yellow notes combine to create an aroma very reminiscent of home in the autumn.




Cozy Couch Hangs
Comforting & Enveloping

Maria Candida Gentile; Syconium - $45/15ml
honey, milk, fig, sandalwood, & beeswax

Like pouring honeyed milk over a wooden bowl full of ripened figs. Divine. Warm. Sweet.

Nicolai Parfumeur Createur; Ambre Cashmere Intense - $65/30ml
black pepper, mandarin orange, citron, orris root, violet and cloves, vanilla, labdanum, benzoin, tonka bean, patchouli, sandalwood, musk, & amber

Lemon custard pie with a sprinkle of pepper and finished with all the warmth and depth of resinous, earthy, and sweet notes. Throw on a cashmere sweater and curl up on the couch.

Jacomo; #08 -$43/100ml
cardamom, ginger, black tea, freesia, milk, dried fruit, cinnamon, milk, & amber

A chai latte in perfume form; need I say more?

Tokyo Milk; Bulletproof - $36/47ml
smoked tea, coconut milk, cedar, & ebony

All the elements of a comforting black tea scent, combined with coconut milk and woody notes. Incredibly unique and soothing.




Smooth Sandalwood 
Creamy Woods

Nirvana; Black - $80/1oz
violet, sandalwood and vanilla

A totally effortless sandalwood. 

Diptyque; Tam Dao EDP - $145/75ml
lime, coriander, ginger, sandalwood, cedarwood, musc, vanilla, & amber wood

A lumberyard start turns into a sweet, milky sandalwood with a well-tempered vanilla.

Guerlain; Samsara - $45/50ml
green notes, peach, ylang-ylang, bergamot and lemon; middle notes are iris, violet, orris, jasmine, rose and narcissus; base notes are iris, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, musk and vanilla

My Samsara is a vintage EDT, and I haven't compared it to the current formula, but I had to include it. Gorgeous, smooth sandalwood with an aldehydic edge.

Keiko Mecheri; Bois de Santal - $140/75ml
Mysore sandalwood, white Chinese osmanthus, & ambergris

A beautifully soft woodsy scent with a powdery fresh undercurrent. Wears like velvet.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Review: Nicolai Parfumeur Createur Ambre Cashmere Intense

Notes:

black pepper, mandarin orange, citron; orris root, violet and cloves; vanilla, labdanum, benzoin, tonka bean, patchouli, sandalwood, musk, & amber





A pungent, nose-tickling pepper lays the foundation for a citrusy mélange, which resembles a dish of lemon custard pie. The floralized mid-notes remain incognito during my wear, but eventually the desserty guise gains a more inedible complexion, knighting this markedly gourmand fragrance with a crown of sophistication, appealing to non-gourmand lovers too. The peppery-lemon — a quiet constant throughout the duration of this juice — begins to drown under an amalgam of notes characterized by their appealing depth and warmth; a smidgen of earthy patchouli, a whisper of smoky resins, not-too-sweet vanilla, and a healthy dose of glowing amber. As it dries down completely, the itchy pepper fights its way back to the top, making my nose feel a little twitchy when I inhale it deeply. The end result is peppery amber on a stabilizing wooden base, with a breath of clean musk (which is more perceptible on clothing than skin). Some find Ambre Cashmere too sweet, however, I find that its sweet notes have a cleverly composed juxtaposition with non-sweet notes to perform a complimentary balancing act. What you're left with is a toasty concoction, metaphoric to a weekend spent away in a wooded cabin during the late autumn.

Morning is spent peacefully meditating on a porch facing a pristinely placid lake. With a mug of hot tea warming your hands, and a cashmere blanket draping your shoulders. Mother Nature exhibits signs of the impending seasonal transition. She steals the last of the wood's hanging leaves, they float poetically down to a hardening soil, ultimately resting atop a blanket of their leafy kin. The hum of winter in the air feels cleansing; you willfully invite it to fill up your lungs in between sips of tea. Smells of burning wood float from atop a dancing flame and out the chimney in a plume of grey smoke, threatening to choke the brisk atmosphere, and beckoning you back inside with promises of its fiery warmth. Time does not exist here; you only know the time of day by the position of the sun. And as midday sets in, you fetch another hot mug of Earl Grey, snag a slice of lemon dessert to accompany its bergamot goodness, and settle in on a well-loved couch in front of the fireplace. Later, you throw on a sweater and — with barefeet — you skirt around jagged rocks and pokey twigs until you reach the dock, where you skip rocks in the moonlight, across the glassy lake. Crickets entrance you with their chirpy lullaby, luring you to doze off on the dock while gazing at a star-speckled sky.




Ambre Cashmere Intense retails for $65-185

Longevity: 3/5
Projection: 2/5


Friday, October 9, 2015

Review: Papillon Artisan Perfumes Salome

She is an aloof and heartless, maneating mistress, with no regard for the opinion of others. Scorned by her past with cheating lovers, she's a self-proclaimed vigilante for the used and brokenhearted. She'll show up at your hotel room door, wreaking of the smells of her last sexual dalliance. When she's through with you, she'll light up a cigarette and dash out the door. You'll catch only a flick of her hair as she rounds the corner, never to be seen again...

Louise Brooks | Image from: selvedgeyard.com

Notes:

bitter orange, bergamot; turkish rose, orange blossom, tobacco, carnation, jasmine, hyraceum; styrax, vanilla, hay, patchouli, oakmoss, cumin, birch, castoreum

Every so often I run across a fragrance that makes my stomach feel like it's actually trying to escape the confines of my body. Upon first sniff of Salome, my brain screamed "ABORT!ABORT!ABORT!", signaling to my stomach that it was time for a jail break. Now, many a 'fume lover fancy the oddities of a dirty, skanktastic fragrance. I happen to not be one of them. I can appreciate a little essence of filth, but I require that it dissipates if it wants to receive my love and adoration. I am, however, interested in perfumes that illicit a polarizing response. And Salome will evoke just that. Although, nearly every review I've seen of Salome to date is in favor of it, which leaves me wondering if my nose just isn't privy and practiced to these filthy kinds of juices.

Before I began writing the section of this post which would detail how Salome smells, I gave it time to develop and dry down. By the end, I started to detect a familiarity. Mitsouko! Guerlain's Mitsouko has much love and respect, but I didn't care for that one either. There is a musty dirtiness to both of these fragrances which frightens my nose to the point of nearly recoiling into my face. Perhaps it's the shared oakmoss note in these perfumes that I can't seem to wrap my nose around. In Salome, the cumin is prevalent and certainly the main cause of my stomach-fleeing, nose-recoiling issues. Cumin (the body odor-replicating kind) in perfumery stands as one of my most unfavored notes. Amongst all the notes listed for Salome, my skin drags out primarily cumin and oakmoss, leaving me with an olfactory portrait of post-coital sweatiness.

In writing about this, I began to wonder if many people enjoy these kinds of fragrances because of their unconscious correlation with naked dilly-dallying between the sheets. It would certainly make sense, since (as mentioned in my last article) our brains can associate even unpleasant aromas with something we enjoy, in turn giving us a positive view on said aroma. Ehh, maybe a stretch, but certainly plausible! I just can't consciously walk around radiating an odor which is reminiscent of a humid brothel house room. I wish there were more development on my skin, but it really does pull almost entirely cumin with a weaving of oakmoss. For the same reasons that I don't dig Salome, others will love it. That's the beauty of perfumery. I had fun sniffing and writing about Salome, and look forward to smelling more from Papillon.

Image from: luckyscent.com

Salome retails at $160 for a 50ml bottle, it was created by Liz Moores

Longevity: 2/5
Projection: 3/5

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Power of Scent; Smell Your Way to Happiness

Recently, the fragrance subscription service Scent Trunk has announced a devotion of 1.5% of their sales to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation as a way to show their support in the fight against mental illness. In response, I felt inspired to finally tackle a topic that I've been quietly conceptualizing for some time now. A perfect time to applaud the Scent Trunk team (a group of truly lovely people) for their generous and thoughtful contribution, and to take the opportunity to discuss the functions and power of scent, psychology, why being fragrance-obsessed is about more than mindlessly collecting scented liquid (or obsessively smelling all which is smellable), and why more people should indulge in their sense of smell.

"Scent has the power to change our mood and to remind us of our best memories. Most of us know someone, in our friends or family, who suffer from depression. To help them, we contribute 1.5% of sales to #fightdepression."

The Amazing Olfactory System

As someone who is fascinated by both anatomy and psychology (and how it all works), I've discovered and delighted in the fact that the functions of the olfactory system are more complex than most give it credit for. When we have senses that function properly, we take them for granted. I can see, YAY. I can hear, YAY. Those are typically the most valued senses. In the case of olfaction, most aren't using the sense to its full potential, or recognizing its ability; so sure, it's working fine, but it could be working better. While it's true that animals have the ability to detect more odors than humans, it is believed that as centuries have passed — and we began walking on two limbs versus four — evolution has dulled our sense of smell.

Most animals rely almost entirely on their sense of smell to analyze their surroundings, evaluate their safety, and sniff out prey and mates; their anatomy reflects this. Aside from having a larger olfactory bulb, olfactory nerve cells, and a bigger olfactory epithelium, most have an additional olfactory organ — believed to be vestigial in humans — called the vomeronasal organ, which feeds information into the accessory olfactory bulb (a part of the brain that is nonexistent in humans), in turn allowing for greater odor processing. BUT, we humans are capable of training our sense of smell to detect a greater number of odors (the average adult human can detect approximately 10,000 different odors) by frequently practicing the retrieval of aromas from our brain's odor library, in turn improving our sense of smell AND (because olfaction is directly related to gustation) improving our sense of taste. MMMM FOOD.

The process of olfaction explained may sound just as monotonous as any other bodily function explained by your average college physiology professor. Here's a very basic explanation of the process: an odor enters your nose, it dissolves into your mucous membrane, reaches just past that to your olfactory epithelium, travels to the olfactory receptor neurons, which transmits the information to your olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb contains sensory receptors that are actually connected to the part of your brain which send messages directly to the limbic system and neocortex (particularly important here for its involvement of the cerebral cortex), therefore odor information is received and processed immediately. That's a big deal, you guys. Most senses, when engaged, have to send information in little neuron automobiles on a journey via your spinal cord, to get the information to your brain for processing. The inner portion of our nostrils are the only part of our bodies where the central nervous system is exposed directly to the environment.

So, before I continue, recall the bit where I said that olfaction directly correlates with important brain functions via the limbic system and cerebral cortex. Now it's important that I remind you what the functions of these structures involve. The limbic system houses an array of structures whose primary jobs involve a responsibility for the emotional aspect of our lives, as well as higher mental functions; such as learning and the formation of memories. The cerebral cortex is the most important part of the brain (especially from a psychological standpoint), and it affects our thoughts and actions. In case you're not yet seeing how this is relevant, remember that our olfactory bulb has a direct relationship with these brain structures. Smell affects some of the most important functions of our brain! With such strong connectivity to some of the most influential parts of our psyche, at what point can we begin to consider the level of intensity for which scent can affect our whole being?

Olfaction & Emotion; A Serious Relationship

None of what I've told you is particularly groundbreaking; it's simply overlooked and under appreciated. I'm not a scientist, and there's plenty of studies about how scent affects x, y, & z. However, the average person doesn't delve into the sense of smell any deeper than, "that smells good" or "this smells bad." The truly amazing aspects of the sense of smell are all things that typically go unacknowledged or are taken for granted, and in fact, like most things involving the human body, the full capabilities of the olfactory system are not fully understood. Many of these functions are believed to be so innate and automatic that we don't even consciously recognize that we're using them. For the purpose of keeping this article relevant, I'm focusing specifically on some of the functions of smell which have the greatest impact on us from a psychological aspect.

In 2000, Rachel Herz conducted a study which tested the accuracy and emotionality of memory recall when an object was presented to a specific sense. Accuracy was measured by the level of detail and precision with which the event was remembered, and emotionality was measured by depth of emotion recalled from the event which it accompanied. The study proved that smell was not any more useful than the other senses in aiding memory recall. Scent was found to be just as effective in the evocation of memory as seeing, hearing, or touching an object presented with the intention of aiding in memory recollection. However, while each sense was equally successful in helping pull old memories from our internal databases, the memories which were recalled via olfaction surpassed the ability of the other senses from an emotionality standpoint. Smelling a specific scent which is related to an old (and possibly forgotten) memory can open a flood gate of emotions which can potentially feel as organic as they did when they occurred for the first time. That's powerful.

The olfactory processes are situated so anatomically close to the brain structures which control the characteristics of our psyche that we most value; memories, thoughts, & emotions. So when an odor accompanies a notable event or person, our brain has the ability to attach that odor to that specific event or person and remain silently stored in our brains memory database, ready to be recalled at the very moment you catch a whiff of the same aroma that you smelt when the experience occurred. When I smell laundry wafting from strangers dryer vents while walking down the street, I'm instantly reminded of riding my bike on a summer day in the small town I grew up in, catching the scent of fabric softener wafting from dryer vents of neighborhood houses. For a long time, the scent of chicken noodle soup repulsed me because my dad made a bowl while I was sick and nauseous on the couch. Scent recall is different for each person, which makes it that much more special. Something that simply smells "nice" to me, may trigger an entire reenactment of a childhood memory for you.

Furthermore, studies have proven that scent can affect us positively or negatively on a subconscious level. If presented with an odor — which did not previously conjure up any negative or positive response — during a negative, anxiety-inducing, or disturbing situation, that same odor presented in a stress-free situation can replicate the negative feelings that you felt in the anxiety-inducing situation for which the odor was initially presented. So, if there is a scent that you identify as calming, uplifting, or cheerful, you have the ability to carry that with you via some form of aromatic elixir to induce positive and happy feelings in a stressful situation (ie. wearing lavender oil while taking a difficult exam). Conversely, an unpleasant odor does not necessarily induce negative reactions. Studies have shown that when presented with a pleasant image, and then presented with an odor (whether pleasant or unpleasant), test subjects were more likely to identify the odor as positive. For instance, many people find the smell of cow manure to be disgusting, but I am reminded of quiet country roads, blue skies, and the simplicity of childhood. What I'm getting at is that scent can be a compelling tool which we can learn to use in our favor.

But still, why such an infatuation with perfume?

Often times, fragrance collecting is seen as a shallow hobby without any substantial value. However, part of the excitement and thrill of this infatuation with scent is in having the opportunity to express why olfaction is something to be emphatic about. Of course it smells good and makes you feel a little luxurious, but it's more that that. In studying and practicing scent (in a very unscientific way, by simply smelling), specifically through the use and enjoyment of perfume, I am able to create my own imagery and positive connotations for each fragrance. Each day I am able to choose a fragrance which evokes a specific feeling or emotion that I've created for it. How do I want to feel today? Which fragrance creates a story to achieve that feeling? We're talking about more than wanting to feel sexy for the purpose of attracting a mate. We're talking about the ability to feel powerful, confident, happy, calm, charming, mysterious, romantic, unique, and yes, attractive; an olfactive affirmation. And when we feel these kinds of things about ourselves, we take a tiny stab at hopelessness, self-criticism, insecurity, shame, depression, and anxiety.

Psychologically speaking, scent can play an important role in positively changing tasks that we find to be mentally distressing. As touched on a few paragraphs up, our brains are extremely sensitive to cues which trigger specific behaviors/emotions; whether that behavior is a response to cues learned consciously or unconsciously is irrelevant. The point is that — with scent — the possibility of creating positive cues for our brains in situations of distress is something that could be realistically attainable. For those who have personally suffered from depression or anxiety, you know that regaining the feeling of some emotional or mental normalcy during a particularly distressing time can be crucial. Aside from the possibility of training ourselves to correlate scents with positive feelings, many odors which we link to specific memories are able to be recreated and bottled. As a result, we can have these aromas at our disposal for sniffing when we want to remember the way we felt during a joyful moment, ultimately providing a source of comfort. In this way, scent can serve as a time capsule to happier times, resulting in the possibility of more hopeful feelings.

My fragrance journey didn't consciously start with all of this in mind, the more time I've spent collecting and practicing scent, the more I've learned and recognized how fascinating and mood-altering it is. As someone who has personally dealt with mental illness for nearly three decades, fragrance has become a daily, ritualistic experience that I am able to rely upon for glimmers of joy when everything else about the day ahead seems bleak and daunting. Scent certainly isn't the cure for all of our problems, but it is an accessible tool which we can use to our advantage. We can let the big ol' brain scientists work on a brain things, and we can fight mental illness on a smaller scale by happily dousing ourselves with confidence-building elixirs, spritzed from gorgeous little bottles. Kudos to you again, Scent Trunk, for loving our brains. You rock.


Image from: whatayear.org





Sources: herehereherehere, & here

*I stand to gain nothing from this article other than the joy of spreading the wonders of scent. This article does not include affiliate links, and I was not asked to write it. I hope this inspires you to spray your way to happiness.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Brand Overview: ROADS

One part businesswoman, one part art aficionado, Danielle Ryan is the definition of #GIRLBOSS. In a world that's still being reformed to respect women as head honchos, Danielle is a figure to admire. A sophisticated, intelligent, creative, ambitious, and beautiful entrepreneur, Danielle was born in Ireland to a Sri Lankan-German mother and an Irish father. Over the years, she has spent time in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Dublin, and London. She is a graduate of the Royal Acadamy of Dramatic Art in London, established The Lir, and went on to create ROADS, a contemporary lifestyle brand which acts as an umbrella to ROADS Fragrances, ROADS Publishing, and ROADS Entertainment; all created for the purpose of expressing and fostering various kinds of art.

"There are many reasons why I wanted to create ROADS, but above all else, I wanted to create an artistic brand that would not be limited by its own definition, or confined to only one idea." -Danielle

ROADS' currently provides a range of niche perfumes, books (showcasing an array of art, photography, and culture), and a film production company which covers a variety of genres and subject matter. Danielle has so much going on that one might wonder how she could possibly focus enough attention on the subject of fragrance to kick out anything worthwhile, but rest assured, she's succeeded. There is currently a selection of ten fragrances available for purchase, all of which breathe life and intrigue into a skeleton of minimalism.

Image from: roads.co

Everything about ROADS Fragrance's brand aesthetic represents simplistic luxury. The look, feel, and smell hold their own in a sea of beautiful fragrance brands. Anyone can throw ingredients into a pretty flacon and cross their fingers, but it takes an artist to orchestrate a stratification of notes in such a way that they produce something with a clear intent. Danielle and her team begin a fragrance creation with a specific theme as a focal point; a person, place, emotion, state of mind, a natural phenomenon, or a period of time.

"The theme is then researched to identify its characteristics. If it had a sound what would it sound like? What colour would it be? What kind of personality would it have? The characteristics are listed and become a blueprint for the foundation of the fragrance."

By having a specific set of characteristics and emotions in mind, the ability to create a fragrance which could accurately evoke the emotions for which it was intended is more likely to be a success. Often times, I personally find that a fragrance which has depth and plenty of molecular content, without smelling like it does, is a genius piece of commendable artwork. I can look at the descriptions and inspiration for a ROADS fragrance and consciously grasp the emotion or vision for which it was designed to conjure, without feeling overwhelmed by the need to sort a plethora of notes.

ROADS Fragrances prove that complex and messy are not destined to be synonymous. Each scent smells refined, clean, and complete. Minimalism in fragrance is something that I adore, these kinds of scents are a sort of palette cleanser for the olfactory system, and an easy way to feel modern and swanky. This is how I view a ROADS perfume. Is this to say that I'm head-over-heels with all ten scents? Of course not, that's unrealistic…and while I do tend to approach life with my own personal cloud-hat, I'm still a sensible person. I do, however, appreciate each of them (and downright adore a few of them); look out for reviews in the coming weeks/months.

"ROADS – as a name – is a metaphor for the many choices and decisions we are faced with each day. These decisions shape us and make the paths for how we live. Every choice we make – what we wear, what we read, where we travel, how we communicate – informs our character. Therefore ROADS celebrates the individual in every sense."

Image from: roads.co via barney's ny

Will ROADS be for everyone? No one thing is ever for everyone. But if you're into clean and modern perfumery, I think you'll be impressed with their offerings. The biggest qualm that I've found with ROADS perfumes is that they are rather short-lived. If you're like me, in that scent overrides longevity and you relish in the practice of reapplication, that won't be such a dilemma to you. Howeeeever, if you're a stickler for fragrances that last, it's something to consider. And without further ado, here's the rundown of parfums for you:

  • Supernova: petit grain, bergamot, grapefruit, lime leaf, juniper berries; cognac, ginger, cardamom; cedarwood, oakmoss, amber
  • Neon: lavender; heliotrope, wild iris, vanilla; cedarwood, oakmoss, amber
  • White Noise: green apple, lemon balm, mandarin, grapefruit; iris, violet leaf, heliotrope, tuberose, jasmine blossom, old rose; cedarwood, sandalwood, leather, amber, vanilla
  • This Weekend: mandarin, bergamot; wild jasmine; sweet vanilla, amber, musk, patchouli
  • Clockwork: black pepper, ground lemon, bergamot peel; cedarwood, fir blossom; violet leaves, vanilla, amber, vetiver, oakmoss
  • Lights: bergamot peek, white jasmine, ylang ylang, citrus peel; clove bud, rose, geranium, violet leaf; vanilla, amber, sandalwood, old musk
  • Harmattan: lavender; vetiver, oud, saffron, black pepper, tuberose, rose, ylang ylang; sandalwood, bourbon, tonka bean, frankincense, patchouli, myrrh
  • Graduate 1954: tuberose, frangipani, old rose, heliotrope; mandarin, muguet, clove; green moss, cedarwood, Virginian sandalwood, patchouli
  • Cloud 9: chamomile oil; fresh geranium, jasmine; amber, musk, sandalwood
  • Bitter End: wild grasses, cooling mints, wet bracken; fig leaf, olive, wild thyme; oakmoss, violet leaf, vetiver
ROADS Fragrances retail at $155 for a 50ml bottle

A lovely look at a ROADS Fragrances store launch in May 2014:



There's loads more wonderful information about Danielle and ROADS Group here. What do you think?

Image from: roads.co

DISCLOSURE: sample box provided by ROADS for consideration, as always, I was not compensated to write this and opinions are my own

Friday, October 2, 2015

Sample Mail: Dasein

A scent for each season? Dasein has done just that!
  • Spring: vetiver, violet, sandalwood, rose, yuzu, & black pepper
  • Summer: cilantro, grapefruit, jasmine, orange blossom, & grass
  • Autumn: agarwood, amber, incense, cedar, coffee, & cinnamon bark
  • Winter: blue spruce, black cardamom, forest pine, & french lavender
What's your favorite season?




DISCLOSURE: product provided by Dasein for consideration

Review: Byredo Gypsy Water

Notes:

bergamot, lemon, pepper, juniper; incense, pine needles, orris root; amber, vanilla, & sandalwood





Gypsy Water is a perfume which is emblematic of a whisper. A secret; meant for you only. It's quiet — but lingering — and allows the wearer to slip slyly into the crowd. One does not always wish to beckon attention to themselves through the olfactory epithelium of strangers. This will not be a perfume that gets you noticed, it wants to be fostered and appreciated by its wearer only. Heated by their skin and inhaled directly when the desire to sniff it comes about. Come forth, you mysterious wallflowers.

Like a staticky, goosebump-inducing buzz in your ear, Gypsy Water opens with a prickly combination of juniper and pine needles, coupled with lemon reminiscent of Pledge furniture cleaner. Promptly after, the piney presence drifts away and is replaced by a timid orris root. From here, it passes off the orris root and relaxes into its pleasant base; a hushed, comforting, and well-tempered vanilla-amber, partnered with a peaceful sandalwood.

Gypsy Water is an uncomplicated composition with a short fragrance journey. It burns through its layers hastily, leaving you with its base for the majority of its wear. It is a chic and sophisticated perfume, whose most expressed notes are a soft-spoken vanilla and a minimalistic sandalwood. Gypsy Water's biggest complaint seems to be longevity, which I actually find is quite good in comparison to other's findings. I can still smell it several hours later, but it wears very close to the skin.

Gypsy Water EDP retails from $110-220, the nose behind this fragrance is Jerome Epinette

Longevity: 2/5
Projection: 1/5

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Review: Prada Infusion d'Iris EDP

A fragrance lover has a sort of intense relationship with their collection; we protect them, baby them, dote on them, devote whole blogs to them. We're only one tiny fraction below being so obsessed with our aromatic elixirs that one of us could be featured on TLC's 'My Strange Addiction,' which has showcased a man who was actually sexually involved with his car, and a woman who was married to a carnival ride. Yeah, we're not quite that weird. There's more involved with being a fragrance fanatic than meets the eye (god, I bet that's what all people say that are crazed over something), but that's for another day.

When my husband and I moved from Ohio to New York, our belongings would have to sit in a sweltering, metal storage container for a month; but not my ambrosial liquids. I carefully packed them into a large tote, and treated them as I would a small child. We toted that dead-weight tote in and out of cars, up and down stairs, into and out of elevators, and through mazes of busy sidewalks. I regret nothing. They rested comfortably in air conditioning, safe from spoilage. I worried enough about the state of my lipstick in that hot storage box that I would have had a psychiatric cataclysm had my perfumes accompanied them.

And there comes a moment in every fragrance collectors life that they must face the horrifying, hypothetical scenario of having to grab only one (or a few) perfumes in a dire situation. At least once a month, someone in one of the many fragrance groups proposes some form of fictional destruction in which you would be forced to rescue a solo scent. "If there were a zombie apocolypse and you were one of the chosen to be flown to a safe island, leaving your loved ones and cats behind, and you could only bring one perfume, which would it be?" Because clearly, if a virus were turning humans into flesh-eating monsters, perfume would be a top priority.

In any case, if I were ever faced with an angry, blazing fire, with only enough time to save one 'fume, Infusion d'Iris would be it. I mean, I'd hesitate there for a minute, amongst the heavy, black smoke. I'd shed a tear. Briefly, I would consider succumbing to certain demise with my beloved perfumes, whose combined volume could probably overflow a tub. But, I'd come to my senses. I'd snatch up my Infusion d'Iris and dash out the door. I could sniff it outside the building as I watch a fiery force destroy the entire physical representation of my life. Welp, that got morbid. Sorry guys.

Notes:

mandarin, galbanum, orange, orange blossom, iris, cedar, vetiver, incense, & benzoin





Cool. Clean. Urbane. Refined. 

Infusion d'Iris strikes a perfect balance between classy and modern. It is effortless and unpretentious; like an expensive French soap. A bright, well-rounded citrus accord paves the way for sweet, powdery iris, and a subtly green galbanum. A soft-spoken woodsy-incense provides a skillful, complimentary base for the clean and inoffensive iris to adhere to. And sweet benzoin creeps through the cracks of the wooden base, keeping its predecessors from being too sterile and phlegmatic. Infusion d'Iris is at once cheerful and grey. Engaging, yet aloof. It's really no surprise that this ranks at the top of my list, because afterall, a contradictory fragrance is my favorite kind of fragrance. Well. That and the fact that it has a powdery persona, and I hope that by now you know how emphatic I am about powdery scents.

I imagine an unblemished, sterile, bathhouse. All white in structure, with grey linens and rugs. A single slender, speckless vase displays a bountiful bouquet of perfectly manicured iris. Tall, open windows drown the room in daylight and a countryside breeze. The window frames create an illusion of living paintings; an exhibit of flowery meadows and oatmeal colored grass, as far as the eye can see. I could decompress here, douse myself in Infusion d'Iris, and then march out into a messy, polluted world, smelling of sweetly powdered, soapy iris. Impenetrable by sidewalks full of stank garbage, train carts infiltrated by the smell of human excrements and body odor, and breezes acting as an automobile for cigarette smoke. 


Infusion d'Iris EDP can be purchased for a little as $40 for a 30ml bottle, the nose behind this fragrance is the one and only Daniela Roche Andrier

Longevity: 3/5
Projection: 3/5

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Review: Bois 1920 Sushi Imperiale

Maybe an emphatic sushi-lover or a deep-sea mermaid would seek out a raw fish smellin' perfume? Probably not. Because ew. But if so, they'd be sorely disappointed by Sushi Imperiale. It smells nothing like uncooked sea food, coupled with rice, and wrapped with seaweed. Thankfully. In fact, if the smell of sushi had an exact opposite, it'd probably be what Sushi Imperiale actually smells like; hot, cinnamon-spiced apple cider, with a backdrop of mens cologne. Why is it called Sushi Imperiale? Your guess is as good as mine. I do like their weird representation of mystery, though. Keepin' me on my toes!

Notes:

bergamot, mandarin orange, lemon, pepper, nutmeg, jasmine, rose, star anise, cinnamon, sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, tonka bean, & madagascar vanilla






When Sushi Imperiale is first spritzed, it has a heavy, cinnamon-ed licorice aroma; it's kinda brash. Shortly after, the spicy anise unifies with a little bowl of varied, fleshy citrus, seasoned with a pinch of nutmeg and pepper. From here, it begins to morph into something that resembles hot, murky apple cider. It does take a teensy bit of time for the pleasantries of this juice to take fruition; there's a lot going on here, and it begins with a bang. But as the top sizzles out, it softens and meets a subdued vanillic tonka. It grows into a warm, sweet, a little spicy (and sorta fresh) men's cologne personality; this is the part of Sushi Imperiale that makes me melt into a figurative pile of goo.

The florals listed are virtually imperceptible to me. As for the patchouli, vetiver, and sandalwood, there is a slight dust-laden, wooded earthiness that can be noticed with a deep inhale directly from the skin; it's not recognizable via wafts, but acts as an anchor and provides additional depth and stability. Sushi Imperiale is wrapping up in a rusty-red and orange wool blanket, while sipping apple cider in a ginkgo-littered park. I perceive this fragrance as one that I'd reach for strictly in the fall months. It develops beautifully in crisp air, and catching whiffs of it in a cool breeze is intoxicating. Looking for a scent to wear for Thanksgiving to make dealing with your crazy aunt a little more tolerable? This is it. Reminder: bring rum to slip into your apple cider.

Sushi Imperiale retails at $140-205, the nose behind this fragrance is Enzo Galardi

Longevity: 2/5
Projection: 3/5



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review: Laboratory Perfumes Gorse

Laboratory Perfumes was founded in London in 2011, the brand currently consists of four scents; Gorse, Samphire, Amber, & Tonka. The fragrances are available in 100ml EDT bottles and 250ml candles. The perfumes are designed to evolve over the course of wear as determined by the wearers personal chemistry. All four scents are marketed as genderless, made with natural oils, and inspired by flowers, herbs, and aromatic botanicals from around the world. I had a pleasant correspondence with Dorothy, and was surprised with an unbelievably generous package. I genuinely enjoyed three of the four Laboratory Perfumes fragrances (I wasn't into Tonka, but could understand how others would be). Today, before we completely lose sight of summer, I'm sneaking in a review of Gorse.


Notes:

citrus, coconut, cardamom




Straight away, a strong blast of crisp, clean, citrus-drenched coconut grabs my attention. Soon after, the citric coconut is sprinkled with a hushed cardamom, giving Gorse just enough spice to keep it interesting. Here is where it rests; each of the notes exist peacefully with one another. It is rather linear, and like all four of the Laboratory Perfumes fragrances, Gorse is straightforward, easy to wear, and flawlessly blended. As you could imagine, this perfume is perfect for the summertime. You can drench yourself in it and never feel overdone.  

If I had to compare Gorse to another fragrance, it would undoubtedly be Creed's Virgin Island Water. It mainly represents my favorite part of VIW; the crisp, limey-coconut. Gorse isn't as heavily limed as VIW is, but they share a notable similarity. Overall, Gorse is an uplifting, refreshing, and clean fragrance. I don't think I can fairly proclaim it to be my favorite of the four Laboratory Perfumes scents, Samphire is beautiful; Gorse is a close second.


Image from: douglasschneider.com


Gorse retails at $95 for a 100ml bottle, you can learn more about LP here

Longevity: 2/5
Projection: 2/5

DISCLOSURE: product provided by Laboratory Perfumes, opinions are my own

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sample Mail: ROADS

Completely impressed with ROADS presentation and aesthetic. I can't wait to share more in depth information about these fragrances with you all. They've already got a leg up with me due to their semblance of minimalism. Be on the look out for reviews on these juices soon!






DISCLOSURE: sample kit provided by ROADS for consideration

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Art & Olfaction Awards; Submission Notice

Submissions for the third annual Art and Olfaction Awards open October 5 to December 4, 2015.

Submissions for the third annual awards are open to perfumes and experimental scent projects released to public consumption or view between January and December 2015. Submissions will be in three categories: Artisan, Independent and Experimental (learn more about our categories, here.)

Email us at hello@artandolfaction.com to request an email reminder.

Important Dates:
  • Submissions open: Oct. 5, 2015
  • Submissions close (post office deadline): Dec. 4, 2015
  • Artisan and Independent Categories: We accept perfumes that were/will be released to market between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Sadakichi Award for Experimental Use of Scent: We accept projects that were/will be exhibited to the public between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Finalists will be announced at Esxence in Milan, in March 2016.
  • We will announce the winners at the award ceremony, taking place in Los Angeles on May 6, 2016.

The Submission Process:

Submitting to the Art and Olfaction Awards is a two-part process: An online submission form, followed by a physical submission package containing vials of your scent.

See a step-by-step guide and more information on The Art & Olfaction site here.

*This information is reposted from artandolfactionawards.com

Friday, September 11, 2015

First Impression: Tauerville Flash Scents

The month of September's (seriously, where has this year gone!?) Olfactif box brought the trio of Tauerville fragrances. It was my first time sniffing any of the Tauerville scents, and it was perfectly timed with Andy's new release of Incense Flash. Wonderful opportunity to give my first impressions, I thought.






Rose Flash 

My least favorite of the trio. Admittedly, rose is not my forte; I like it okay enough, but I'm picky. And I don't like my fragrances too sweet. Rose Flash is quite sweet, not as syrupy as Une Rose Vermeille — which I found insufferable for my tastes — but saccharine enough to put me off. If you like your roses candied, this may be for you.

Vanilla Flash

YUM. I detect tobacco instantly, and shortly after a sweet, vanillic bourbon. This reminds me very much of Le Couvent des Minimes, but sweeter. Vanilla-lovers who like their vanilla with a little more depth and intrigue will likely fancy this. I dig it.

Incense Flash

Freshly applied provides straight up L-E-A-T-H-E-R, then it fades into an incense-infused leather bag. Very dry. Smoky feeling. I like it most once it settles in, and I'm also curious about wearing this together with Vanilla Flash for a splash of sweetness.


Have you tried any of these scents from Andy Tauer? 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Review: Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger

Notes:

nutmeg, ginger, cedar, sandalwood









Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger was the first fragrance of the Jo Malone house, and it is a brilliant example of linear perfection. Some days you crave a fragrance with a multidimensional itinerary, and other days you just need a break from olfactive complexities. Like most fragrances, Nutmeg & Ginger still begins with an overstated (although not unpleasant) blast, but almost instantly dissipates into what you'll be wearing for the duration of its molecular lifespan. It is a superb imitation of freshly grated ginger, crowned by warm and spicy nutmeg, and planted atop a muted woody base. It has the same simplistically uplifting vibe that I get from a classic cologne (think Aqua di Parma Colonia). It really is that easy. 

I've seen others liken Nutmeg & Ginger to aromatherapy. I can get down with that. It synergistically provides a calming and energizing affect when sniffed. Each time I inhale this, I sort of feel like I can close my eyes and pretend my stress doesn't exist. It's swept away and replaced with a brief moment of serenity (c'mon guys, a fragrance can't take away all your problems). Nutmeg & Ginger is rather seasonless, although most seem to favor it in the cooler months. This one is sticking around for the long haul in my wardrobe; I can't get enough.

Nutmeg & Ginger retails at $65 for a 30ml bottle, and $125 for a 100ml bottle, it was created by Jo Malone

Longevity: 2/5
Projection: 2/5

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Review: Keiko Mecheri Bois de Santal

In 2015, I've taken a major liking to anything that reflects simplicity and minimalism. I listened to several minimalist-living audio books on audible, I pinned all home inspiration that reflected a clean and airy feel on pinterest, and I tried desperately to dump all the extra physical and emotional garbage that serves no purpose in life other than to contribute to stress and anxiety. I've even favored fragrance with a scent that resembles the way a Scandinavian home would feel. Moving into a tiny shoebox of an apartment is likely to blame for this desired lifestyle shift, and for the most part, I've been pretty unsuccessful in adopting the minimalistic lifestyle because I live in a home for mice…but it's a process! I have a vision! The one aspect that's easy to succeed in is seeking out perfume that feels minimalistic, and Bois de Santal is certainly a scent of minimalism. It still gets a story though…

Notes:

sandalwood, osmanthus, ambergris, & tonka





Across a sunny meadow and into the opening of a shaded, but sun-speckled woods, a lover eagerly awaits their partner at a simplistically romantic self-set scene. A large stump, draped with a gauzy tablecloth, and adorned with a milk-glass vase of delicate flowers, acts as a table for sipping tea housed in a cutesy kettle and nibbling scones from a vintage pyrex plate. The lover — proud of their unconventional display of romance — waits and waits. With a furrowed brow, they shoot worried glances at the the time. In the distance, the sound of snapping twigs provides a jolt of hope, but the lover looks to find a single doe step out into the clearing instead. They lock eyes.

A charming and demure doe-eyed creature is born from an opening that resembles a rigid piece of floralized wood. Bois de Santal begins a little rough around the edges, but quickly softens into a beautifully refined slab of sandalwood, sweetened minimally by fruit-tinged florals and subdued tonka. A modicum of ambergris contributes a fuzzy factor that feels nothing short of soothing. The elements of Bois de Santal combine to provide a feeling akin to clean, powdered skin. Although I am mentioning powder (fear not, powder haters), I wouldn't describe it as a palpably powdery fragrance.

As time wears on, each layer of Bois de Santal stacks upon each other and then quiets to a comforting whisper. The Mysore sandalwood is characteristically creamy and intricate, and the perfume as a whole feels clean and refined. The more I experience the scent of sandalwood, the more I liken it to a mystical experience. I want to inhale it deeply. Breathe it in forever. Each time I've sniffed a delicious sandalwood-based fragrance, I'm sure my eyes have rolled back exceedingly far into my head. Bois de Santal is no exception. Wearing this feels, not like the jilted lover, but like the doe.


Bois de Santal EDP is $140 for a 75ml bottle

Longevity: 3/5
Projection: 2/5

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sample Mail: Sanae Intoxicants





DISCLOSURE: samples provided by Sanae Intoxicants for consideration

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Review: Imaginary Authors Falling into the Sea

"At the age of nineteen Nica Galas published her first book, the autobiographical tome Falling into the Sea which chronicled her short and torrid love affair among the hot beaches and lemon trees in the Gulf of Naples. The breathtaking story opens with Nica and her girlfriends picking bunches of jasmine flower for boys while they cliff-jumped into the sea. An innocent first kiss erupts into an ardent summer entanglement which is cut short one moonlit night when her lover leaps into the dark abyss never to surface, leaving Nica naked on the cliffs screaming his name."

Notes:

lemon, bergamot, grapefruit, lychee, tropical flowers, & warm sand

Image from: spruceapothecary.com

Wearing this feels like burying your feet in sun-warmed, sandy shores. Like staring into a salty, blue, sparkling sea. Like sniffing oceanside flowers on an exotic island. Like quenching your thirst with a refreshing, fresh-squeezed lemonade, from a palm tree strewn hammock. Falling into the Sea is simple, but effective. It opens with citrus that is delicately sweetened with lychee, flows into a bouquet of tropical flowers, and is soaked up into toasty, seaside sand. It is at once relaxing and rejuvenating, similar to the way a long overdue vacation is experienced. And hey, simple doesn't mean it lacks character, Falling into the Sea still maintains the unique DNA that is inherited by all Imaginary Authors fragrances.

Grapefruit has proven to be a challenging note for me in the past, it can easily veer toward a body odor or cat pee replica territory; not so here. This citrus trio is never unpleasant or sour. Interestingly, I prefer to wear this on a less scorching summer day, with low humidity. I spritzed it on before venturing out into the gross, sticky summer, hoping to prolong a fresh, uplifting vibe, and I was amazed at how hastily the balmy air gobbled it up; humidity is the pits. Worn on a warm, but non-sticky day, this guy lasts an impressive amount of time for something that is so citrusy. In this weather, it succeeds in providing an invigorating and clean mood.




This is the perfect summertime choice when you're pining for something other than a standard, coconut-bomb perfume. And because I discovered it so late in the season, I'm a little sad that summer is coming to an end (I don't say that lightly, I've been bitching about the NYC heat for the entire duration of the season), although I can see myself reaching for it in the early autumn months for a little reminder of the parts of summer that aren't so dank and sweaty.

Falling Into the Sea EDP retails for $85 for a 60ml bottle, it was created by Josh Meyer

Longevity: 3/5
Projection: 2/5

DISCLOSURE: sample gifted by IA, opinions are my own

Friday, September 4, 2015

Brand Overview: Alice & the Magician

Aaron Wisniewski is the "Magician" behind Alice & the Magician, a brand which creates edible fragrance. Aaron remembers loving the smell of freshly baked chocolate cake as a child, and the smell of a freshly peeled citrus fruit. As an adult, he has gained expertise in the world of cooking and mixology, furthuring his obsession with scent. The fact that smell directly affects taste was something that he found himself fascinated with. Aaron became enamored with specific sensory moments, and eventually gained a strong desire to replicate the wondrous smells of the world, and bottle them for extended enjoyment via spritz after spritz after spritz. He has traveled the world in an attempt to experience all kinds of scent in their most natural state.

"Aaron experienced the smell of tobacco smoke and slightly overripe fruit that lingered in the Cuban air while experiencing his first true mojito. He inhaled the cold Tuscan air at dusk: full with olive wood smoke and grilled meat. He remembers the smell of the markets in northern Thailand where his love affair with fresh kaffir lime leaves began. After such powerful experiences, he no longer wanted to merely experience these ethereal moments, he wanted to capture them and share them."

At this point, Aaron's creative venture focuses primarily on the cocktail industry, with a goal to transform and enhance the way people experience flavor. He works with his brother, Samuel Wisniewski, operating their flavor lab and aroma bar full-time in Burlington, Vermont. In addition to conducting his scent work, Aaron continues his worldly, scent-chasing travels. He also collaborates with fellow restaurant professionals and bartenders, and seeks out the quality ingredients that allow him to replicate the odors as we experience them naturally. The products are already used in bars, restaurants, and homes across the country (see here).

"We carefully source the finest & rarest ingredients on the planet and hand blend them to create more than just flavors, we create experiences. A unique technology allows us to capture the pure essence of nature at its aromatic peak without using heat, chemicals, or moisture that could damage the fragile aromatic compounds. This ensures pristine, true-to-nature aroma that is identical to fleeting flavor moments like slicing into a ripe citrus during the harvest in Grasse, inhaling sun-warmed herbs in Andalucia's garden, or pulling warm chocolate cake from the oven during a childhood birthday party."

You can read more about the Alice & the Magician story on their site, there's also a nice interview with Aaron that you can read on The Olfactive. As for the scents, I've had the pleasure of testing six of them, and I can tell you that they smell absolutely authentic and organic. I enjoy sniffing them, but it has me wishing I was more of a cocktail connoisseur. I can think of quite a few people who would love to play with these aromatic elixirs. Citrus Blossom Harvest was Aaron's very first creation, and the replication of the way a piece of citrus fruit smells as you're digging into it with your thumbs — the air suddenly atomized with citric aroma — is uncanny. If I was more brushed up on my cocktail game (I just drink them, people), perhaps I could name a few cocktails that it puts me in mind of. Just know that immediately upon smelling it, I was reminded of the aroma that briefly radiates from the glass of certain freshly-served, citrus spritzed cocktails that I've consumed.



Alice & the Magician currently have twelve scents available to purchase, which are as follows:
  • Andalucia's Garden: Andalucia had a garden of cilantro, tomatoes, and limes. In the middle of the day when the sun beat down upon it, the leaves and fruit would gently release their aroma in the freshest garden scent imaginable.
  • London Dry: The flavor components of gin but…Fresh, alive, and pure. Fresh juniper berry, bergamot, pine lemon, and fir.
  • Autumn Bonfire: There is a brief period in New England at the end of autumn before winter falls. Dried maple leaves litter the ground, firewood is stacked high, and the ground is just starting to freeze. You can walk down the street at dusk and smell these things mixed with the overwhelmingly sweet, smoky, woody, and comforting smell of people beginning to use their wood stoves and fireplaces.
  • Herbs De Provence: The fresh herbs of the traditional Provencal blend: lavender, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, savory, and thyme. This fragrance gives the impression of standing in a field of these beautiful herbs in the late afternoon.
  • Perfect Ginger: A bright, spicy, powerful, and invigorating burst of fresh ginger accented with galangal and undertones of warming citrus.
  • Citrus Blossom Harvest: The experience of peeling fresh citrus, directly from the tree during the harvest season in a sun-drenched citrus grove. The wild orange, three different grapefruits, neroli, and orange blossom in this fragrance are pure pleasure when inhaled.
  • Rosemary & Wild Honey: Hearty, green, and herbaceous rosemary is balanced and enriched with sweet, heady, and floral wild honey.
  • Sage & Exotic Citrus: The big, blond, round, and pungent aroma of fresh clary and white sage is elegantly accented with sparkles of citrus and the fresh, green note of yuzu.
  • Chocolate Birthday Cake: The sweet, gooey, unmistakable smell of a perfectly cooked chocolate birthday cake fresh from the oven during a childhood birthday party.
  • Charred Bourbon Barrel: The alluring and complex aromas of aged bourbon concentrated in the barrel staves: vanilla, smoke, clove, butterscotch, allspice, and clove to name a few.
  • Hiking the Long Trail: The Vermont outdoors captured. Green, fresh, forestry, earthy, oaky, mossy, and so much more. This fragrance lingers and changes more than any other.
  • Feast of Field & Forest: Savory, mouthwatering flavors of cultured butter, black pepper, truffle, mushroom, and wild herbs.
Clearly, the best way that you could understand how utterly authentic smelling these juices are, is by smelling them yourself. Sniffing Hiking the Long Trail reminds me exactly of the smells of camping. I'm dying to try Autumn Bonfire (if you haven't figured it out yet, fall is my favorite season) and Charred Bourbon Barrel. Rosemary & Wild Honey is a gorgeous combination of herbaceous rosemary and sweet honey, and Chocolate Birthday Cake is freshly baked cake that makes my mouth water (I love cake more than any normal person should). And okay, in case you were wondering: Yes, Alice & the Magician fragrances ARE wearable. They're not just for consuming. I will say that they don't seem to last especially long, or project with any force when sprayed onto skin, but do remember what the main intention of this product is; it is truly meant to be inhaled from the headspace of a cocktail, within the confines of a glass. Aaron doesn't claim to be a perfumer, his focus is primarily on the fascinating relationship between taste and smell, but his creations are super. He's done an amazing job at replicating scents which are intrinsic to nature and common experiences that all humans can relate to. ALSO, yes, I did taste Chocolate Birthday Cake…for science. How could I not? And no, it doesn't taste as delicious as a delightfully warm chocolate cake. When they say edible, it simply means, "you can ingest this without dying."



Alice & the Magician Edible Fragrance retails for $42.50 for a 50ml bottle, which will get you approximately 600 sprays, and $18 for a 10ml bottle, which will last approximately 100 sprays. If you have an interest in mixing cocktails, Alice & the Magician have a delightful list of recipes (here). What do you think? Are you curious?

Image from: Alice & the Magician

DISCLOSURE: product provided by A&M, scent descriptions and final two images are from A&M, I have not been compensated for this article, opinions are my own