Sunday, 27 March 2016

Tom Ford - Sahara Noir

Dreams and fantasies, which are which and what is when and why? Mysteries and heart songs, folk tales and memories threaded through my DNA culminate in  kaleidoscopic flashes of brilliance in royal blue and amber, ochre and threads of gold. Royal gifts of sacred spice tempered with memories of loss and longing. Tears and humming and hot sands, whirling and drumming and warm hands. Reflections in polished brass, eyes rimmed in kohl, other eyes burning with intensity, searing my soul. Imprinted.

Balsamic - Amber - Smoky - Warm Spicy - Woody

Sahara Noir
 is an oriental-woody scent based on incense. Bitter orange, Levantine cypress (known as one of the plants growing in the gardens of the 1001 Arabian Nights) and cistus essence Orpur® (Orpur® are high-quality natural ingredients of extraordinary purity, developed by Givaudan) open the composition. The heart blends frankincence essence Orpur®, cinnamon, cool papyrus extract, rose absolute from Morocco and Egyptian jasmin with honeyed and animalic shades of beeswax from Burma.The base centers around warm amber notes - made of labdanum absolute and ambreinol (an intense natural labdanum fraction), cedar, frankincense resin, benzoin, vanilla, oud and balsams. 

One of my absolute favourite fragrances.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Why Perfume?

From my earliest memories, everything is associated with smell, and that's true for all of us as, is the fact that fragrance is the most primordial trigger for memory recall but it's about so much more than that.  When I think of a person, I usually, think of what smells I associate to them and it's not a conscious recall - it just happens.  I think of my grandfather and I get an intermingling of fresh pipe tobacco, leather, beans and tomato leaves, geraniums, date loaf and dusty brocade. My grandmother shares some of those and I also get marigolds, fresh dirt, wild mint, lily of the valley and juicy fruit chewing gum.  My other nana smells mostly of chicken soup, rosemary, lavender, lemons and sweet tea, but I also have a very strong scent recall of her garden which was wild and rambling and had many little hidden nooks and crannies and every so often I'll brush past a plant and the fragrance that greets me takes me straight back to her.  Too many people think that something has to be pleasant or sweet to be worthy of being an ingredient in a fragrance but that's simply not true. The fragrance of dolls hands, of an old, musty teddy bear and the smell that greets you as you open the caravan door after a winter's hiatus are all just as worthy and we are blessed that perfumers recognise some of these smells as something that people love.

I can't stand your run of the mill fragrances - those overly sweet floral or fruity explosions that all smell one molecule different to one another. You know the ones, they often have a celebrity name on the box or are sold in your nearest department store.  I guess like anything else that's mass-marketed, it's usually of lesser quality.  As a child I remember my Aunt selling AVON and giving us all these little testers of perfume and our own little bottles.  When my nana gave me my first bottle of Yardley's Lily of the Valley I felt so grown up, I was given April Violets the following year and to this day still adore the fragrance of both violets and lily of the valley or muguet.  My mum had this bottle of AVON Hawaiian White Ginger which I thought was the most amazing thing I'd ever smelled and I used to splash it on after a shower and I have often looked for something redolent of that particular offering. My next fragrance experience was summers down the coast and adoring the smell of coconut and the little bottles of fragrance from the hippie shops - patchouli, night queen, black musk - and strawberry oil. I always adored incense as my parents had burned it throughout my childhood and it has always been a particularly comforting smell for me. Then sometime during my middle teens I temporarily lost my sense of smell, it was a combination of severe allergies and a cold that I couldn't shift.  At nineteen I had surgery to correct it and my olfactory senses came to life with a bang.  I remember those first few days post-op and the smell of freshly mown grass and the scent of the ocean - wow - that's when my perfume passion gripped me and never let me go. I purchased my first bottle of high end fragrance a couple of days after leaving hospital - it was Chanel No. 5.  Looking back I was far too young to wear it well, but I felt mature and I felt luxurious. Shortly after, my boyfriend at the time bought me a bottle of The Perfumers Workshop - Tea Rose and my search for the holy grail of perfume began.  I moved to Melbourne not long after and I purchased a lot of perfumes that still remind me of those crazy days and clubbing six nights a week - Christian Dior - PoisonCacharel - Lou LouThe Perfumer's Workshop - SambaEstee Lauder - White LinenGuerlain - Jardins de Bagatelle and last but definitely not least - Estee Lauder - Private Collection along with some of the Body Shop's finest offerings DewberryStrawberry and Vanilla oils and that pretty much sums up those hedonistic days when I was coming of age.

Don't worry, I'm not about to list all the perfumes I've purchased over the years because there are many, many hundreds.  Have I found my holy grail?  I have a few that I absolutely adore - my signature scent that I have previously written about here and my other current favourite here.  So along with Bond No 9 - Chinatown and Serge Lutens - Fille en Aiguilles I have a number of fragrances that I'll blog about in the coming weeks - so stay tuned!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Bond No. 9 - Chinatown

My own private time capsule.  It takes me back to a time when I hung out with these new age hippies. A time of freedom, of liberty when I left my lacklustre marriage and found myself.  It sings to me of long-shadowed afternoons, drinking chai on the porch of a large, ramshackle house that had once been glorious.  Set amongst majestic magnolia, willow, peach and apple trees, meandering gardenias and wisteria creeping wherever they could. Misfits on cushions, strumming guitars, beating bongos and breeze fuelled wind-chimes creating a soundtrack for soaring spirits and lonely hearts. Nag Champa curled it's way through diaphanous curtains to wrap around bare-bronzed shoulders, curtained by patchouli scented tresses and skin musk.  But just inside the window, on a threadbare sofa, with a beaten metal tray of blown-out candles, sits a girl with a book.

~ jojo

White Floral - Warm Spicy - Floral - Woody - Tuberose - Vanilla

Top notes seduce with intoxicating scents of peach blossoms and bergamot. The heart is composed of gardenia, honey and sensual sweet tuberose, peony and orange blossom, while the base is made of patchouli, cedar, warm and soft vanilla, sandalwood, cardamom, and Guiac wood. The perfume is characterized as floriental, which can also be sensed from its very name and the bottle design. 

This is my Signature Scent - I will love it until the day I die <3

Donna Karan - Black Cashmere

Late afternoon fog is closing in, I find myself in a large, dark library in a gothic Victorian mansion. I'm standing by the open fire, a rich, honeyed muscat in hand. On the highly-polished mahogany mantelpiece is a large spray of Chrysanthemums and Carnations peppered with autumnal berries and trailing ivy. There is a slight trace of a subtle incense slithering in silky tendrils from an adjacent room. I feel like I have woken from a long sleep, my awareness is fleeting; a silk scarf, a casket, laughter, a farewell, but nothing lingers, transient, elusive and yet strangely comfortable.  I want to kiss and cry at the same time, I feel consumed and comfortable, and yet that primeval flight or fight is hiding just behind the tapestry.

~ Jojo

Fresh Spicy - Warm Spicy - Woody - Amber - Floral

Spicy notes of saffron, carnation, red and white pepper intertwine with woody notes of patchouli and african sorts of assorted tree.

Personally I don't get much of the incense - it's barely discernible although many reviewers seem to see it as a spicy, incense heavy fragrance.  I guess I love incense heavy and this is not it.  However, I love it. For me it opens with a honeyed blast, almost medicinal - I guess its the amber and saffron and peppers mingling before they retreat a little a few minutes in and the carnation comes to the fore.  I find the carnation (stalks and all) stays front and centre for the longevity of the fragrance from this time on, it's tempered by the patchouli and woods but it's far from spicy or incense like on my skin. It's familiar and yet like nothing else. A classy, mature perfume mostly suited to cooler weather and grown-up events ;)

Serge Lutens - Fille en Aiguilles

She runs.  Barefoot into the dark places, hair tangled, afraid of nothing.  She glimpses Baba Yaga in the shadows. Here in the deepest part of the forest - the damp soil, peppered with one hundred thousand nettles - she is closest to Mother Earth. Her pulse quickens in time with the thrum and throb of Gaia's heartbeat and her breath catches in her throat when long, spindly needles of sunlight reach through the soaring trunks to place a golden crown upon her brow. These sentinels of Sacred space sing a ringing welcome to her, she is their Queen. She spins, dressed in curls of incense with jewels of molten amber. She is Goddess in triplicate; maiden, mother, crone. Innocence and age old wisdom. The huntress and the hunted. She is one with the trees, with the earth, with the stories and the storytellers. If you ever venture into the forest, you may hear her singing with the bees and you may feel her warmth in a sunlit clearing, but never try and tame her, magical things can't be tamed.~ jojo

Woody - Aromatic - Balsamic - Warm Spicy - Smoky - Fresh Spicy

The composition incorporates pine needles, vetiver, bay leaf, spices, fruit and incense.

I simply ADORE this perfume - the pine, the sap, the smoke, the incense - it's longevity is amazing, and it's projection is just right.  A true unisex juice <3

Thursday, 27 November 2014

A Love Affair Began...

I'm relatively new to the indie perfume culture having stumbled across the bottle which started it all (Arcana's Eleanor of Aquitaine) quite by accident, a couple of years ago.  I was doing some ancestral research and adding images to my family tree and looking for a less barbie-inspired image of Eleanor, my 22nd Great Grandmother, to add to my tree and this little amber bottle popped up in image search. Naturally my curiosity peaked and I followed the link, read the ingredients and reviews and purchased it immediately - along with a few others - Avalon, Tess, Three Bears and Last Hours of Empires.  As soon as they arrived, an addict was born.  I've always loved perfume, and scent-memory has always been the most important time-machine of the senses for me.  I also have an extensive number of bottles of high-end perfumes (albeit many have become dust gathering, light refractors mostly). Niche perfumes speak to me. I find they can express my moods, my sense of place and standing in the world, they can take me away, cocoon me and feel less like a cloak of celebrity-endorsed fragrance make-believe and more like an expression of the primeval Goddess within.  Fast forward to now and I have countless bottles with packages arriving far too regularly (who am I kidding? I did say I was an addict! No such thing as too regularly). My plan for this blog is to hopefully lure friends and strangers alike, away from the money-snatching, celebrity obsessed fragrance culture to the Indie and niche perfumeries and let them experience the beauty of hand-blended, authentic perfumery.  I am also about to embark on the creation of my own perfumes, so stay tuned on my olfactory journey...

~ Jojo