June 7, 2018

Perfume and Scent Routines

Details, part I; Claude Paradin: Devises Héroïques, 1551.

Since perfume became important to me, I've become far more aware of all the smells around me, from pleasing to gorgeous to not so much. People themselves, in their own clean skin, each have an infinitely interesting scent, some far stronger than others, some much more to my liking than others. I have become much more conscious of the scents of the seasonal changes, even within urban Brooklyn.

We have the explosion of linden blossoms in the street trees every year, pouring forth their sweetness in the humid air at night in spring. We have the leaves crumbling dryly underfoot in the streets and in the parks, over the mulched and sandy areas where the grass has been trampled down to nubs in the powdered dirt.

The earth and the pavement release a beautiful pale grey metallic steam when wet by rain, and the snow has its own slightly metallic odor when it first lands. We have the scents of age from all the old brownstones and other buildings from the nineteenth century,  the storms that pass through, coolly refreshing the air (ozone is a scent color). The fragrance of the daily weather conditions affect the intimate scents on coming indoors. The vibration of the light in over-lit spaces, how dark and light affect the perception of scents. Wool, cotton and leather clothing emanating their mild material scents have become more noticeable, or I have become more attentive, to notice them.

Many stories and books, films and music and periods of history, I now associate with certain scents.

I read Clairmonde by Theophile Gautier in the linden season so now I think of that scent as a background to his descriptions of the double life of the country priest by day as the handsome and sensual courtier by night with his indescribably beautiful lady enlivened by his own essence.

Recalling Jane Campion’s biopic of John Keats in love (Bright Star) I note the bluebells in the spring sun, the walks in the woods. I think of the old English apothecary shops (as Keats studied to be an apothecary himself) and the lavender scents cleaning and preserving their woolen cloaks and hats. The colognes based on herbs and soliflores, the damp earth scent from the frequent rain that so many modern natural perfumers have referenced in beautiful ways. The gardens of old roses and peonies and hyacinths.

My favorite part of the morning which has so many personal routines is the coffee or tea scent, the cinnamon in oatmeal, cut fruit, at one time the scent of clean dog, the slippery coppery hot water heating up a high ceilinged bathroom, the cotton towel absorbing the scent of water. The choices of soaps and lotions, each scented, some intentionally strong, some subtle. The mint washing through a mouth, the fresh air in the closet, the serious leather scent lying in the shoe boxes, the wool or cotton. Some of the scarves or outerwear holding traces of perfume at the wrists and neck. The scent of lipstick, the scent of the particular perfume as chosen to be worn that morning. 

The light brighter outside than any lamp refreshing the air into an ozone/aldehyde, the sharp sooty smell of the car exhaust pointing out the brightness of fresh air. Paper, book or tissue or bits of trash, blowing around in the streets, the movement of air around the rushing crowds, then standing still on the corners, waiting for the next chance to cross, you get that olfactory sense of expectation as to well, what next? Getting the sense of those standing near you, what they are wearing, the scents coming toward you one after the other. Here is where I say once again, there is no such thing as scentless, everything has a smell. (That which is labeled unscented has been treated with a chemical to block your ability to smell it.)

 Claude Paradin: Devises heroïques Tolle voluptatum stimulos

The weekends might permit a wider range of smells, and more time to fool around with scented lotions and hair and trying different scents on through the day. That is if you are like me, and look for that chance to incorporate more fragrance experiences into the day. It becomes such an enhancement and an excitement; it’s like eating chocolate or smoking cigarettes but without the calories or the exhaustion. An addictive quest even, for more special and different forms of olfactory beauty.

There is the occasional thought through choice to be made of a perfume to fall asleep in. Sometimes reaching for an extension of the day's experience, sometimes looking for a mood change.
Now that I've amassed something of a perfume library, based entirely on personal preferences, I  have more scope to indulge my olfactory cravings and moods. Some days and weeks going through a phase of craving for roses, for musk, for powders, for incense, and phases for where I look for perfumes that are strong and others where I want quiet and subtle ones only. Times I take a break from perfume and then come back to it, recalibrating my nose and awareness. 

Engagement in the pleasure of perfume has enhanced my scent awareness beyond what I ever could have anticipated. For example, it often increases the dimensional experience of the daily walks I take, what I encounter in the streets, or passing under the trees in the open air, or how the texture of the air scents change indoors. The experiences of daily life reference back and forth to what I find within perfumes and what perfumes then throw back to daily life. 

Indie and niche perfumes especially those that reach beyond the traditional forms let me access a personal aura that marks and enhances the present moment.  Creates associations into a sense- memory that references everything it matches going foward and backward across time and life.

Perfume was a choice I made and now it's starting to reveal how much it's changed me.

La Guirlande de Julie - c.1601-1700 - via Gallica

Copyright 2018, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved. 

May 30, 2018

Iris 3 - Niral EdP by Neela Vermeire Creations

Rain/Iris at BBG this May 2018 photo by Lucy Raubertas

This is the third of the Iris perfumes that have found their way to me at this change of the season. It's not a coincidence.

The soothing qualities of the Iris in Niral are perfect for this currently chaotic and harsh period.

The perfume calms and acts to sync a personal balance of the physical, emotional and mental. Interesting how the nose has that ability, to unite an individual's body emotions and mind.

As a beautiful experience, it's not an intoxication, as some perfumes are. As much as I love that kind of perfume experience, I know it's one that makes you forget yourself and reality. This one is so thoughtful and delicate and detailed and subtle it raises awareness. Taking pleasure in its beauty refines the soul.

The mood is meditative, requiring attention and focus. There is also the important element of sophistication. It helps me understand more about the elements of elegance and composure.

This scent aura brings your own attention away from the loudest voices in the room, with soft power.
This is one of the softest perfumes I know. 

It is like wearing a fine fabric tinged with the scent of iris, powdered wood, and musk while moving through a pure atmosphere refreshed by florals. The trick of it is it requires attention. It seems to hold close to the skin but then it reaches out when I focus on it, mentally. Then it envelops me to become the most important presence. It disappears when I'm distracted. I often am these days, as are many, understandably so. But I have to experience it on its terms, and it rewards with peace and beauty. 

Reminds me of wearing something bias cut, in a close-cropped, soft silk-velvet or suede texture. You might forget you are wearing it as you might forget your clothing, but then you feel it and become one with it. It enhances body heat and clean skin and melds with you in a refreshing and enjoyable way. It quietly brings you back to yourself. This may be the sandalwood effect, famously meditative, which grows.

Wardle Silk embroidery at the Silk Museum by William Morris 'Indian Poppy' design
The inspiration is once again, with this perfume house, an interaction between cultures, anchored by India. In this case, India and England. Additionally as always, a classical French presence within its sense of perfume style. Each one is very much itself here. Makes me realize how they've affected and changed each other so much it's doubtful that they could ever pull completely apart now.

The perfumes name Niral's meaning in English is -- unique, calm, serene.

The inspiration came from how a colonial period British industrial specialist in silk (Sir Thomas Wardle) worked with the Indian wild silk trade. He developed new dye processes that expanded the market for Indian silk in Europe. The results inspired Western artists of the period and popularized Indian aesthetics as combined with Western tastes.

From the NVC site:

NIRAL, through its blend of rich raw materials is an ode to this quietly forceful silk ambassador. The perfume opens with iris, tea and liqueur notes weaving an intricate pattern with floral notes and spices akin to the textural delight of a piece of tussar silk, and symbolizing a unique relationship between two countries linked by a common heritage.
Notes are listed as Angelica, Champagne Accord, Iris, Tea, Rose, Magnolia, Cedar, Sandalwood, Leather.

Photo from Extrait - il Magazine del Profumo

The materials are, as always with NVC, of the highest quality. The collaboration between perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and creative director Neela Vermeire enhance each other's special areas of expertise. NVC's demonstrated range between bold, rich, and subtle is wide to express specific inspirations anchored in Indian and European cultures and their interactions.  

This is presented in a heavy bottomed fluted flacon, resting in a pale gold silk lined violet box. 

Disclosure: I received a sample personally from Neela Vermeire and discussed this perfume and perfume in general with her. 

This post is non-commercial. 

Photos above: please see credits, and follow the links for more information.  Please see my
prior posts on NVC perfumes.

Please go to the Neela Vermeire Creations site for more information and details on this perfume.

Copyright 2018, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

April 8, 2018

Iris 2: Woodland Iris by Juan Perez, Exotic Island Perfumer

Photo of Woodland Iris by Lucy Raubertas
Partial list of notes:
Top notes: Bergamot, Citron, French Lavender Absolute, Hay
Heart Notes: Iris Accord, Orris root extractions, Tonka Absolute, Vanilla Bean, Cubeb Pepper
Base notes: Labdanum, Treemoss, Sandalwood, Cedar, Pinewood, Musks.

Juan Perez is a horticulturist and has a deep understanding of botany and the fragrance materials he combines to express his emotional connection to their beauty through perfume.
Woodland Iris crosses the graceful inner spirit of the iris with the green shade and moist earth of the woodlands, balancing the two as equals.

A rural tone is felt throughout, radiating a calm beauty. It arises from the ancient natural and spontaneous harmonious affinities between flower, roots, earth, shade, and sun. Human emotional associations to these qualities are primal and understood as pure and beautiful within the intimacy of cultivation.

I've read that iris rhizomes have a sedative quality, and were once used to soothe infants who could chew on them directly. (Don't try this at home, like mushrooms it's tricky. Only the exactly right kind, as the wrong kind are unkind to the digestive system).
There is a faceted atmospheric musk that eventually surrounds you, once the initial refined freshness of the open dies down. Tightly blended, the whole is influenced by woods and iris bound together as one.

The fresh start includes one of my favorite scent sensations, that inner release when stepping outdoors into green leaf-tinted air, full of life, here enhanced with facets of woodland fern and forest floor tones. Hay and fern are subtly present.  Contemplative sandalwood hums beside all.
The background touch of tonka and vanilla* bean gracefully enhance the near-gourmand rich heart of iris butter. Resolves into what on me becomes an elegant musk that contains notes like facets in a cut gem that form a whole. Something of a gleaming quality to this perfume, soft as kindness.

This is one of those perfumes that enhance your presence and atmosphere within personal space, and reads to others as a lift in the air around you. They won't know what it is exactly that charges the air around you with peaceful harmony.
Detail from the Portinari Altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes.
Iris was a favorite flower of HvdG. as well as spiritually symbolic and heraldic.
One of the iris themed perfumes this Spring that can smoothly carry thoughts and mood into a good place.

Juan Perez lives in Puerto Rico and I know he has been through much in the wake of the upheaval caused by Hurricane Maria. I've been in touch with him and been impressed by his calm and unshakeable devotion to the island. It's a peace rooted in a complete openness to the island's natural beauty. He's recreated as much order as possible and welcomed the return of blooming water plants and vanilla orchids. He used a prior harvest of vanilla beans in this perfume and hopes for more this year to be used in this and other projects.
*Vanilla pods harvested and photo by Juan Perez

I associate this perfume with the forces that move toward the beauty of growth and reclamation by greens and roots and flowers responding to the sun. This natural restoration and rebirth after a forceful scouring prove how life takes its chances wherever and whenever it can.
Water Lilies Return photo by Juan Perez

For me, this is a scent of blue-green mildness expressive of wet-land iris breathing in and out. Together the plants and water dissolve the richness of the earth itself, a process that in turn feeds and creates the shade of trees and their fresh woodland air.

This strength within the continuation of life with softness and gentleness in the aftermath of wild and overwhelming forces is expressed here with a subtlety that notes all the soft yet pervasive charms of nature's continual activity.

The perfume will soon be released in the mainland U.S.A., at first through Shelley Waddington's Envoyage site. Their collaboration to create an exquisite pair of wedding perfumes, Nectars des Îlles and Vents Ardents, continues to be one of my favorites.

See also Dragonfly by Juan Perez for Zoologist

More information as to release date and further links will be listed here, so please watch this space.
Disclosure: The perfume was sent to me directly by the perfumer at my request.

Above photos credited as in captions, the photos by Juan Perez are used by his permission under his copyright.
Copyright 2018, Lucy Raubertas. All Rights Reserved.

March 13, 2018

Iris 1 - Iris Underground by Soivohle

Iris Underground, an oil perfume by Soivohle (Liz Zorn) --

There's a perfume season coming on that concentrates on Irises. Three perfumes based on Iris are on the path to Spring for me and hopefully for you too.

I'll post on them one at a time, and will do the next two upon their release and time to experience. (Juan Perez' Woodland Iris and Neela Vermeire Creations' Niral)

Soivohle by Liz Zorn has a new line of oil based perfumes. That's good news, especially for me. I adore oil-based perfumes, and my skin loves to encounter them. My sample of Iris Underground struck me immediately as the exactly the type of beauty I need more of. I went for the full size right away and my fondness grows every time I wear it.

The notes listed on the site are: Apple Natural Accord, Galbanum, Champaca Leaf, Iris Accord, Natural Ionones, Natural Irones, Violet, Amyris, Sandalwood, Opopanax, Violet Leaves, Tolu Balsam, Vintage Musk Accord.

What happens in this oil form is that it slows and tempers the rich and full character of the other influences. They are details acting on the central Iris theme that end up showing an uncanny realism. This perfume exhales the sense of a rich ripe Iris root/bulb/rhizome. This is Iris as cloaked in its full experience of life. The clinging vestiges of damp earth and green leaves and freshness of the air make a full portrait of an Iris.

I suspect the green nature of Galbanum has a lot to do with it. 

I see 'Vintage Musk Accord' and I think the body and liveliness are sustained with it. 


I love the full sense of the fragrant root and its buttery richness. A light sweetness evolves after you get used to the rest. The many varied notes and accords are exactly calibrated to enhance the Iris story. The nature of Iris is revealed and celebrated. This one is an impressive display of skill on the perfumer's part. It also reveals her appreciation of Iris in its element.

It wears like oils do, long and close to the skin. It's intimate. It reaches up to your own in-breath enough to feel it permeate your time in its company. Without becoming overwhelming or triggering scent blindness from too much of a muchness. Balanced, full, round and grounding.

It's not a big or emotional perfume, it's elemental and specifically the soul of a plant. In all its delicate glory with its fragrant roots in the mire and its head in the sun. That might make you emotional if you are moved by that kind of thing. That is, this is a reminder that the Iris holds its secret fragrant nature within its underground source. 

It's a wonder how humans first gained that understanding, to find out Iris's secret, to then bring it to each other as a gift of beauty. 


Liz Zorn is one of those indieperfumers who does everything herself, from start to finish. This is similar to how a painter works, and she is indeed also a serious abstract painter. I've noticed many of my favorite indieperfumers are also deeply engaged painters. (For example, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, John Biebel, Bruno Fazzolari, etc., to name some just off the top of my head).

For this perfume, samples, and more information and other perfumes please visit the Soivohle site

Please find more of posts on Liz Zorn's perfumes through the search bar to the right.

"Soivohle: What does that mean. Soivohle is an acronym it stands for..
Sending Out Inspired Vibrations of Healthy Loving Energy
How do you pronounce Soivohle: see-vo  ~  see-voh"

Images above from the Soivohle site and the Liz Zorn Fine Art site for the paintings. 

Copyright 2018, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

February 12, 2018

Anatole Lebreton - Bois Lumiere EdP

The Golden Forest - Gustav Klimt

This is one of those love it or not perfumes. I do love it to the exceptional degree that I got myself a full size while sampling. I have Miel de Bois by Serge Lutens already, but while they are both honey themed they are distinctively different enough that they exist in a different mood and atmosphere.
You must try a sample on yourself to see if you are one of the lucky ones it suits so well. Because if you are, as I am, it's a true love that answers in depth to satisfy scent cravings you may not consciously be aware of. It's as rich and dimensional as a fully natural perfume, yet has the tenacity and reach of a French classic.

With a tone that is reminiscent of certain vintage perfumes, there is yet a modernist lightness that is pervasive. It bonds with the skin closely and thereby transforms in an individualist way. For me, it is soft, fluffy comfort fragrance, that generates its own candlelit heat and light.  It's as if honey has dripped over an aromatic wood, penetrated and dried there, and then was sawn, so that the sawdust releases a fragrant aromatic powder of celestial beauty.  The wood is true and stays present throughout wear, while carried by a dry honey. Honey might make you believe this is a sweet perfume, but this is not the taste but rather the scent of a rich natural thick honey still mixed with its beewax and a bit of pollen,  capturing the warmth of the summer sun.

Photo from the Anatole Lebreton website

It's a highly versatile perfume. I have tried it across a range of occasions. Wearing what I call rough and ready clothes to go for a  long walk after it's been raining hard for two days, in clogs and a fuzzy sweater under the coat, its warmth and grace are an ornament. It's perfect to read or listen to music to, on the sofa or in bed, something like a warm pet sitting beside you, cat or dog, a calm if lively breath that follows your own. It's good for going out to dinner, as it holds close and its dry honey combines well with almost every kind of food.

From the Livestrong site on Raw Honey
The dry wood set beside the thick honey equally releasing into the air from skin is an exquisite perfume experience. Full on immediately upon application, it calms over hours into a sense of vitality and balance that can influence the mood if you are at all susceptible to such accurate references to natural materials. Honey and wood are likely to be among those many have directly experienced throughout life. This perfume is one of those that reminds you that so much in life is so good, regardless of whatever chaos or difficulty may be on the front burner.

For those who love perfume for this particular enchanting quality, it's full bottle worthy once you have determined by sampling that your skin is compatible and can work with it. I found it a great pleasure and a graceful ornament to my days.

Notes, per Luckyscent in Los Angeles, where you can get samples or full size anywhere in the USA via online mail order:

Corsican juniper, clary sage, mandarin, fir balsam, honey, rose, carnation, immortelle, beeswax, atlas cedar, benzoin. 

The range of these notes moderate and hold aspects of the dominant theme to render it elegant and smooth.

Available in several European capital cities at fine perfume shops, and also the Lebreton website, which lists all the stockists.

Photos above credited within their captions.
Copyright 2018, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.
Non commercial posts, samples and full size purchased directly from Luckyscent. 

January 19, 2018

Layering Perfumes in Winter

via Michael Moon's Bookshop on Tumblr

Back to experimenting with perfume combinations. Delving further into what I have, and as I have it already it reflects what I love.

Diving into the pleasures of perfume as a source of comfort. It ornaments dark winter monochrome clothing and softens frosted edges. Takes the edge off the surprise of icy slipperiness. The shocking shortness of the daytime hours.

We've had long spells of winds straight from the Arctic. Layered over political anxieties. One small way to use what I have is to throw the ephemeral weight of olfactory private beauty against the balance of public cold fronts. Extreme versus extremes.

Perfume beauty is so delicate. Layering is play with favorite elements, to magnify the tones that have a personal draw. The extra firepower gets through to my frozen brain and heart. Yes, just skirting the risk of overdoing it.

I use two at a time. Often one as dominant theme, and the other as a punctuation mark that holds the mood and magnifies or tones that certain craved fragrance effect.

These perfumes are all stand-alone beauties. The variation made from using two at a time creates a heightened individual experience that answers to stronger tastes.

That said, there are months I can do nothing but rest in the most subtle perfumes. Times like these, I go for more extreme perfume effects. Layering with two at a time creates a fragrance blanket. A comfort that satisfies a wish for opulence and abundance. Claiming the forefront of attention to a degree that drives away other distractions, invisible armor.

Often trying two perfumes on a single theme, with some relation to each other.  Often much more of one than the other, one arm each, or neck and wrists. They rise and mix in the air, and still often show themselves individually, off and on. Stepping out into ice water winter air I still get vivid perfume sensations that waft up to me repeatedly, and that continue in the stillness indoors.

There are the classics combinations. Floral and patchouli or oud, musk and florals, citrus and fruit, gourmand and fruit, floral mixes. Some lines such as Jo Malone have created entire libraries around layering. More layers can begin under hot water, in the bath, with gels, lotions and oils.

A few examples  -

via Caitlyn Casey Pinterest
Exhibit A: Hermes Jour d'Hermes Absolue and Artemisia Saveur de l'Abricot edp

For brightness sake, a clear and sunny perfume by Hermes, Jour d'Hermes Absolue, as the dominant. Matched with a natural perfume by Artemisia, Saveur de l'abricot edp, in a more discrete amount. This combination is so intense and mutually flattering I hardly know what to do with myself when it's in its first throes of dry-down.

Jour d'Hermes has a big opening of intense citrus lofted up by smooth white florals, and that's exactly where it continues to float. This is that rare citrus themed perfume that can withstand winter winds. I found that out after testing it on a recent windy arctic cold day. I kept getting wafts of summer beauty with each step. It was not swept away by the wind and cold. The apricot undertones call to those in Saveur de l'abricot, which is the perfume that made me crave and look for more perfumes in apricot. Also sunny and bright, it has a nectar heart, a thicker base, rich warmth.

Silk velvet - Prism Silks
B. L'Artisan L'eau D'Ambre Extreme edp and Narciso Musc oil

This is a warm hug, a soft cloak, a cashmere blanket, velvet intimacy and softness, sweet dreams, contentment. Together they are a meditative, peaceful center.
Musc oil holds close to the skin, sinks in and breathes out floral accords, amberlyn and patchouli softly and quietly. A gentle accompaniment to Ambre Extreme's powdered vanilla-tinged floral-moderated spices. There is an effortless floating smooth dreaminess at the heart of both, but Ambre is a cascade that reaches out to surround while Musc hugs you in, embraces. Pure relaxation and comfort in both modes. Warms the natural skin scent and holds fast. Each extends the other's time frame, even for me, whose skin always eats perfume up so fast.

Loved this combination so much, was compelled to get backups of each, something I never do. They magnify each other. Remain in the forefront of personal awareness for an extended period of time, without fatigue or retreat. The soothing creaminess in combination is liquid tranquility.

C. Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille edp and Soivohle Raspberries and Black Pepper Parfum

Sprayed Raspberries just above the Vanille on both arms.
Keeping them fairly separate allows their nuances to unfold. Their own dry down journey remains intact within the aerial mix. After a night's wear, they both lingered into the morning to enhance each other's facets, even subdued by the passage of time.

The softness of Vanille and dry sweetness of Raspberries together create a spacious ambiance spiked by the black pepper note. Brings to mind the scent of an old library interior I once worked in. Staying inside more when it's too cold out is enhanced by this combination. It's an upright, aware style of relaxation. With a soft skin close aura it lends itself to focus, for work or taking in information. Raspberries and Pepper keep the warm energy of the Vanille alert. It's a long simmer of quiet pleasure in the luck of finding this particular chamber music combination of perfume layering.

Dovima and Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face
D. Guerlain Insolence Parfum and Villoresi Teint de Neige EdT

These two elegancies are a well-matched pair. The floral tinted powder clouds thrown up by Teint de Neige, illuminated by the violet heart of Insolence. Or perceived another way, it is the scent of an idealized, expensive European makeup case from the 50s, maybe Dovima's. Lipstick infused with cool violet, on smooth skin caressed by swans' down fragrance. The cloud lights up from within as an edge of musk reveals itself.

Glamorous, understated, versatile, and also a comforting blanket of softness. Both perfumes remain steady and consistent and definitely there. Yet never wearing you, even in this doubling of complete in themselves fragrances of strength and character. Teint de Neige is more expansive, Insolence more interior, working close together, like a well-matched extrovert/introvert couple.

Could wear to a fancy wedding or to float away into a deep dream into full repose. Creates a border, a margin, a moat of elegance between the rough world and the skin's surface.

Went heavier on the Teint de Neige, it makes a powdered snow base to complement violet Insolence. Absorbing that ultra cool sweetness and transmuting it into disciplined ballerina style. The prettiness and charm of the powdered feathers are lifted and sustained by a core of cool strength. Violet as pure refreshment. Musk emerges from both in the dry down, with a unifying, soothing depth.
Elegant as a bird.

Fir Trees in the Snow, Casper David Friedrich

E. Von Eusersdorff Classic Patchouli Edp and Enfleurage Balsam Fir Essential Oil

Both have a related aromatic core, and lift a steady quiet flame through the winter cold outside. Indoor heat softens and relaxes the effect. I noticed a higher profile outdoors in contrast to the cold air and ambient street noise of every kind. The Balsam Fir Essential Oil is wild crafted in Canada and has a true spacious green sap heart that is heady. Patchouli's own headiness is tempered by Fir's uplift. (I believe this would work also with White Spruce or Scots Pine Enfleurage essential oils, if Fir is not in stock. Enfleurage's offerings shift every season and are of the highest small batch quality).

Wore them together, that is Fir directly on skin of both arms and sprays of Patchouli over it. Also kept a space for each to be pure, using Patchouli at the neck and Fir on its own on the arms. Fir imbues Patchouli with wakeful energy as Patchouli soothes Fir's tempestuous wildness. Something like a brighter, more translucent Slumberhouse Norne. I've often used Fir in a perfume burner to scent my place. This way it holds to the skin and expands the range of Patchouli into an old growth forest. These two combine into a whiff of the sacred for a nature worshipper. 

This combination brings out a sense of physical and mental contentment and balance, as well as providing a little solace to the possibly neglected feral side of the brain. My version of a work scent, as an excellent mood setter for writing and/or design. 
A down to earth enchantment.

Please follow the links above to individual posts. 

Copyright 2018, Lucy Raubertas. All Rights Reserved. 
Borrowed images, credits captioned.

December 4, 2017

Flowers in Winter - Libertine Fragrance

Frozen flower photo from the Pinterest Board of Tom Holle

Libertine Fragrance is a small perfume house in Canada. These handmade perfumes by a forester turned designer display a keen and deep instinct for scent materials.

The name itself, Libertine Fragrance, links a desiring nature and the sense of smell. The line hones in on all the most pleasurable aspects of perfume. It's not an experiment with the odd or difficult. It's a deep dive into the spectrum of beauties and enhancements available. It's about the most pleasant and appealing of aromatics. Made for pure sensualists, they will silently call to the true sensualist in yourself and in your immediate company.

Once the sample set arrived, I found my favorites (among other loves) were Sex & Jasmine, Smoked Bloom, and Violetta Body Oil. They face the increasing damp seasonal chill here with much ornamental warmth and grace. They work well in the chill outside and in the hot dry indoors. The fragrance of lush florals may support me in this winter of discontent. Their beauty is an aid across icy puddles and a balance to cross the treacherous patches. I imagine they will expand into the wet heat of summer to come. All were body conscious as much as inspired by the beauty of the notes.

My first samples were all in EdP form, and then I ordered the Jasmine and Smoked Bloom as fragrance oils. The EdPs were much bigger in effect of course, while the oils, as always, held close to the skin. I recommend trying/having both versions of both fragrances. They are good to layer together and fit close/adjacent moods and purposes.

The difference between the EdP and oil form shows most in the Jasmine EdP's green freshness. In oil form, it emanates a sweeter warmth to join with body temperature and mood.

There's an affinity that jasmine has to wool and other forms of warming airy fabrics. It clings to scarves, hats, sweaters, coats, and blankets. This perfume will let you explore that too, without going so far as to turn yourself into a scent bombshell.

A good way to wear it is to spray the EdP on the wrists, and use the oil at the neck. You can also outline the face at the temples to the jaw so it can be close as possible to your breathing in its influence. I've read that jasmine has a natural if a subtle beneficial effect on the skin and nerves, and I believe it. It is worth the experimentation because jasmine is one of the most beautiful scent experiences to be had on this earth.

The notes are listed as Jasmine Sambac Absolute* (India), Sandalwood Absolute* (Hawaii), Geranium* (Egypt), Neroli Absolute* (Egypt), Vanilla Bourbon Extract* (India), Aged Patchouli Essence* (India), Ambergris

Vanilla, Sandalwood and an ultralight touch of Patchouli increase the warmth and soulfulness of the star, Jasmine. These warm notes mitigate and corral the usual Jasmine cloy that could overpower. That strength and energy is then used for the purposes of lively heat and attraction. The animalic aspect morphs into refined and even playful happiness in its own beauty. A definite yet tiny touch of Ambergris hums in the background, grounding it all and making it last. It's pure and direct while holding awareness on an inviting parallel inner life. It connects to the sensual dreams that play out in the unconscious mind as you go about your life.

Smoked Bloom displays the olfactory effects of fire near the edges of a match made in heaven between apricot and osmanthus. It's a clean white smoke. The EDP holds the smoke further out to the distance, the oil keeps it closer up front.

I have been for more than a year now in a constant craving for the velvet fragrance of apricots. So this one drew me in, with its seared floral drizzled with the juice of the ripe fruit. It opens onto an atmosphere of liveliness, the fragrant vibrations diluted and expanded into clouds of oxygen. The apricot effect is here an aspect of amber and its connotations of ancient tree-sap. This connects imagination to the immense life forces of the deep past.

The notes are listed as Bergamot* (Italy), Bay Leaf* (West Indies) Osmanthus Absolute* (China), Vetiver Absolute* (Indonesia), Sandalwood * (Hawaii), White Musk.

Smoked Bloom Fragrance Oil from Libertine Fragrance site
I wonder if the open atmosphere that carries so many influences was created by the brightness of Bergamot. That sharp enveloping lemony tone holds volume and space within itself. It's tapped here to carry the complicated accords with all their associations.

This is a complex floral musk for me, in the EdP form, while the oil form holds the white smoke a shade more.

It's all a gathering of influences, in both forms, oil and EDP. This is not a perfume dominated by one theme like the Jasmine. This form of beauty lies in its combination of several notes that smooth out in a dilution. They move up into the air toward an open ethereal space of distinctive personality. It's a chorus of note whispers that form a whole character.

Photo via Clara's Handmade Pinterest
For me, it's like a new experience of another climate. Reminds me of going from one coast to the other the first time. Blue-grey skies, with shots of bright light from the cloud partings.

It's flattering to the skin. The whole body senses designed coolness that yet shows its contact with fire by a seared edge. The sear releases the complexity and soft sweetness of the floral amber and hay.

Violeta Body Oil is a comfort and a quiet ornament to the body. Composed of pure natural oils with a touch of fragrance, using Violet Leaf, Sandalwood, and Orris Butter. Can easily be worn with other perfumes, as it will not interfere.  You can only discern its graceful light tone putting your nose right up to the skin.  It creates a private aura that I find uplifting and soothing.

I'm also trying the Cedrus Hair Oil, made with light and rich natural oils and fragranced with tones of dry Cedarwoods, Mint and Grapefruit. It's made to pair well with the Violeta Body oil.  Our winters create a lot of static electricity in my hair and this works to imbue a certain weight that holds a subtle scent influence within the gleam it imparts.

I very much enjoyed the simple and direct story of the perfumer, and feel an affinity with his attitude. From the site:
My name is Josh, a forester turned designer. I turned to design because of an intense need to work creatively. I left the secure, established career ahead of me in Forestry to explore a creative path and spend as much time actively creating beautiful, useful things.
I had truthfully never loved perfume. I never really connected with the billboard messages of chic luxury and I found the scents all smelled the same. Midway through my design degree I started investigating the idea of scent as art however and I was hooked. I have always loved absorbing a place through its aroma, every landscape, every city block has an scent all its own. I began to wonder if perfume could be more authentic an experience, more artful and less about fancy ass yachts and gendered scents. I decided I would create Libertine as my response to the overly commercial world of big name perfume. It would be a creative expression, a refuge for beauty and curiosity. There would be no celebrity endorsement, no gender stereotyping; just the highest quality aromatic materials, beautiful design and amazing fragrances.

*asterisks in the note lists above signify natural fragrances.

visit the site for more information as to prices, sample sets, and to explore:
 Libertine Fragrances

Copyright 2017, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.
Photos above as credited.

This is a non-commercial review, samples and perfumes purchased by me.

November 7, 2017

Juan M. Perez of Exotic Island Aromatics

One of my favorite perfumers, Juan Manuel Perez, has been hit hard by the last intensely devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico.

His perfume friends hope to assist him so that he can reconstruct his perfume making and continue with his artistry. For many weeks his life has been taken up entirely with survival. Daily life is still very difficult there. Power, and other basic utilities and necessities of life including food, water and gas, are a daily quest. Communications are difficult and mostly more off than on.  Even with help from FEMA, the devastation has been so great that it is expected it will take a year before life can resume some semblance of normality.

I hope and look forward to having his range of beautiful perfumes available again soon.  Shelley Waddington of EnVoyage is poised to assist him with the production and distribution of a new perfume, as soon as resources and logistics permit.

Please see my posts on his perfumes for more information and to remind you of the beauties he produces, listed below. Please contribute to GoFundMe on his behalf, to help him rebuild the ability to continue his work as a talented perfumer. Let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you for contributing and sharing!

This is the link to the fundraising appeal on GoFundMe

This is a link to my full posts on his perfumes. 
(Some are part of a grouping of perfumes, so his perfumes are described within)
There have been many other posts on his perfumes throughout the perfume blogs and vlogs.

To remind you of these beauties, some excerpts --

On Flor Azteca, Oudh Nawab, Nectar des Îles:

Juan Manuel Perez of Exotic Island Aromatics lives on that island far yet near to those of us in the U.S., known as Puerto Rico, where he gardens and studies (and teaches) botany. 
His is a rare talent as a perfumer, because he knows how to bring out the most feral fragrance aspects of his plants and materials and make compositions that are transparent and fresh and that also hold the tropical balmy air within them. 
His use of naturals is so skillful that no matter where you are, once these touch your skin you are treated to the sensation of densely oxygenated air warmed by golden light, saturated with fragrance. In other words, you are instantly transported to a lushly fragrant tropical island. 
Flor Azteca is predominantly a Tuberose that reveals its heart’s nectar, softened. 
The Tuberose is a native of Central America, beloved of the native Indian civilizations, and part of their traditional self-adornment.
The perfumer has a deep interest in the ancient American ceremonies and rituals using the native aromatic materials, especially for their mysterious spiritual and intellectual uses. 
Tuberose can be as heady as jasmine or gardenia, maybe more, because it has a fresh green within it that entices you to inhale it deeply. In this incarnation it joins the creamy white floral family of nectar-laden aromatic intoxicants as a strong individualistic force to be reckoned with. 
Notes are listed for top as Mexican Tuberose, Massoia bark, Chocolate, heart notes as Tuberose Absolute, Magnolia, Datura, Fresh Ginger, Pepper, base notes of Mexican Vanilla, Benzoin, Tonka Bean, Copal Negro, Smoky Woods, Mineral Notes. 
Mexican Tuberose buoyed up on a bed of Tuberose Absolute should give you some idea as to how much tuberose you will be in the midst of here. The vanilla, chocolate and magnolia (all native American aromatic notes too) are a softening influence, holding the edge off the tuberose headiness in a warm embracing air. 
The sparkle of the ginger, pepper and mineral notes run steadily throughout the life of the perfume, which is of good length. I can’t give a more specific time since my skin drinks perfume like it’s thirsty for it. 
This is a perfume for an energetic morning.  It will make you wide-awake and hyper-aware. Even with the sense of intoxication arising from its dense white floral atmosphere, or even especially because of all that, this perfume sharpens the senses.
I understand that JMP considers the white floral accord to be his speciality.  He created Nectar des Illes which is full of plumerias and other white florals (carried at Shelly Waddington's En Voyage Perfume site). He also has an intriguing Gardenia and a Magnolia.
Oudh Nawab Eau de Parfum came to me together with Flor Azetca, and so for me acted as a companion piece, as a voice from the other side of the olfactory sphere.   I will immediately list the notes because they are a poetic description in and of themselves: 
Top Notes, Tumeric, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Heart Notes, Oudh from Borneo, Golden Myrrh from Somalia, Allspice, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Saffron, Persian Figs, Dates, Base Notes – Benzoin, Patchouli, Tonka Bean, Frankincense from Oman, Labdanum, Vetiver, Ambergris, Musks. 

This one is a paean to the Middle Eastern perfume tradition. Like opening the door at night to step into a field of freshly turned earth, with the scent of spices and deep dried hay wafting through. It is a spacious darkness. The complexity seems somehow to create more air so that the individual notes stand out. The tumeric and pepper are as clear as opening bells at the start, with the citrus of bergamot brightening all. 
These fairy tale magical materials with their old names from far away places stand up to their own legends. Myrrh and oudh are both fragrances exactly what they sound like, causing purrs and murmurs of satisfaction within the mind as soon as they touch the skin. The fig and dates set beside Tonka Bean, the musks and the other base notes blend together intimately, like a melting buttery moisturizer on the skin. Soothing and calming, this is a profoundly meditative perfume to rest in, to calm yourself with, or to fall asleep in. 

On Waters of Aswan, aka Blue Lotus:

I have come to know several skillful and poetic perfumes made by this indie perfumer.  This one has an aquatic feel illuminated by the luminous blue lotus, a favored perfume and relaxing intoxicant of the ancient Egyptians.  It contains a high proportion of rare blue lotus absolute and flower essence, with other soothing/dreamy floral substances like ginger lily, held fast to the skin by dry vetiver, ebony, papyrus root and other complexities.  It breathes out the freshness of water softened by the lyricism of dominant if subtle florals.  
There is an innately soothing quality to the scent of blue lotus. It is a beautiful opposing influence to the anxious nervousness that might be aroused by crowds in a hot summer city.  The Egyptians used to dip the petals into wine which released intoxicant qualities, and I imagine them relaxing as they deliberately surrounded themselves with perfume, even to the point of ingesting it so it was released through the skin, floating on reed party boats in their fresh water river, abundant with plants, fish and wildlife. Times are different but we still need to relax into this kind of contemplative beauty...

on Dragonfly, available from the Zoologist line:

Dragonfly Eau de Parfum by perfumer Juan Perez displays transparency and strength akin to its namesake. Iridescent reflection and lift reference an existence led between the aquatic and ozonic spheres. Water and air are tinted with summer greens, florals and dissolving and evaporating elements.
A calm soft core, limpid and milky, links top and base. The notes are listed as follows: Top -- aldehydes, heliotrope, lemon, peony, rainwater. Soft water calls to the perfume's center softness. Heart Notes -- cherry blossom, clover, iris, lotus, rice. The lotus and rice tone the limpid, romantic core. Base Notes -- amber, moss, musk, papyrus, sandalwood. These join all the rest together, and papyrus and sandalwood hold hands with lotus and rice at the heart. 
The aldehydes impart the multi-directional energy of a darting, flashing dragonfly. 
Softness held within this strong aromatic energy is our direct opposite. Our own bone structure is held within a soft skin. The dragonfly's body works the other way around.
Dragonfly's cool green aldehydes, detailed with iridescent blue green highlights, support a warm center. The dry down exposes more aromatic details; multi-faceted floral notes.
This perfume contains you within its aromatic, humid aura.
Easy to wear, it's a soothing release into air and water. Takes off on the lift of subtle iridescent facets, and flies on an air current created by the forces of warm and cool. 

Please see the links above for full posts and to donate.

Wearing Waters of Aswan today, which is one of the most focused perfumes on Blue Lotus I have found. This soothing beauty is both a sensual pleasure and a calming influence.

Again, please donate to the GoFundMe to help restore Juan's ability to continue making perfumes such as these exceptional ones, and so that we can all continue to enjoy his talents and artistry into the future.  Every little bit will help towards this goal. I have been able to have some communication, and I know he so appreciates the kind support and encouragement from his perfume friends.

Thank you!

Copyright 2017, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

October 19, 2017

Autumn with DSH Une Robe de Zibeline and Tsukimi

Drawing by Kris Kuksi
There is a strong and deep flavor of classic European vintage perfume inspiration in Une Robe de Zibeline (Sable Coat) as it carries this style of romantic beauty into today.  Mysterious shades dappled against lightness and comforting warmth.

This perfume reveals a refined animalic bone structure enveloped by contemporary subtlety, softness, intimacy. 

We (especially Americans) don't like big intrusive scent trail perfumes for the most part, anymore, or the idea of animal sacrifice for the sake of adornment. Fur effects attained by other means can be experienced in this perfume. This scent aura is a close halo that is more for the wearer and their closest intimates than a self-presentation that plays to an audience.

The amber is a golden transparency, the slight tang of peppery spice lifts, and the ylang-ylang, rose, carnation and beeswax breathe out as the dominant notes, for me. They lean next to the fantasy accords and beside the warmth-inducing edge of patchouli ambergris and benzoin. 

The Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (DSH) style can be either meditative or a force field of beauty that extends a few inches around the skin, both or either, depending on what the mood and attitude require. It is flexible, while retaining a strong character. As with all the DSH perfumes, there is a lyrical delicacy within the references and sophistication. 

Listed as a spicy Oriental, the note list from the DSH site shows coumarin, brown oakmoss, ambergris, castoreum and civet (as non-animal synthetic accords) East Indian patchouli, labdanum, leather (cade oils) Siam benzoin, blond tobacco absolute, Tolu balsam, Bulgarian rose absolute, carnation, French beeswax, Grandiflorum Jasmine, orris, spice notes (allspice, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or cardamom) ylang-ylang, aldehydes, bergamot, black pepper, lemon, rosewood, Essense Studio (accords created over time as signatures by DSH) and vanilla.

Dreamy, relaxing, warm, the notes so tightly bound together are an impression of alive-ness that lies calmly as a sleeping beast. The applied perfume is like wearing your own invisible fluffy fur collar and cuffs. Pinned on is a fantasy corsage of vanilla orchids with buds of various other deeply scented florals, held just far enough away to blend together seamlessly.    
Blue birds from the bluest fable,
Bear and hare in coats of sable,
Peacock moth on picnic table.
(Fragment of a poem by Nabokov, "Lines Written in Oregon" )

These sprightly/serious lines from Nabokov's legendary travels across Fifties America occupy a sensory realm exactly referenced by these two perfumes.

These two show two sides of the DSH coin. They make allusions, throw references and prism-y shards of olfactory sense memories in both directions. Heavy/dark beside light/delicate.

These were my two immediate favorites of the last set of samples from DSH, though the rest offer plenty to delve into deeply at another time. DSH's prolific creativity is almost overwhelming.

Tsukimi (Moon Gazing) pronounced 'ski-me' is inspired by the Japanese festival of Autumn moon gazing.  I find it subtle, delicate, uplifting, exquisitely beautiful and transporting. It is meant to be softly warming and meditatively glowing, sheltering itself within a cool night air atmosphere. The scent recalls autumn leaves, a cedar tea infused with aromatic wood tones, lightly balsamic powder and peach skin. There's what I call the "Sandalwood Effect". I consider this a quality of aromatic softness that reaches right into the mind to effect calm. Quiet beauty is lifted by a clear light bright airborne effect. It plays with the warm and cool aspects of the notes.

Listed as an Autumn Gourmand, the notes are amyris, peach skin accord, Australian sandalwood, Brazilian vetiver, frankincense Co2 absolute, Hiba cedarwood, hinoki, oppopanax, ambergris musk,
vanilla absolute, ambrette seed, rosewater, Siam benzoin, spice notes, cardamom seed Co2, fig, fig leaf, nutmeg, Essense Studio accords.

Both come in a wide range of strengths. I sampled and fell for these in Voile de Parfum which the DSH site describes as 10-20% oil concentrate, with a slow evaporation rate. These are handmade perfumes by an American artist who has studied and practiced the classical traditions for a long time and translated them into a modern beauty that can be worn by any gender at any occasion. Autumn is the theme but cool air at any time of year would carry their lyrical warmth to best effect.

Please follow the links above to the DSH website for more information.

Disclosure: samples were given to me by the perfumer but I also purchased larger amounts to have more wear time before writing about these two perfumes.

Copyright 2017, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

September 2, 2017

Late and Last of Summer Perfumes 2017

Theodoor van Hoytema calendar 1905
the days of the week and numbers line up this year

The year is moving on, the season of greatest heat passed here. We move into the full-time magic hour kind of days. Slanting rays of light, rustling leaves, sudden rainstorms (praying it stays at just that). Feeling time pass as it works its ways.

Following my personal tastes and intuition lead me in several different directions, perfume-wise, lately. I've feasted on several samples accumulated in the past few months. Now certain ones come to the fore to vie for my fond attention. The beauties of this world remain to be found and appreciated, no matter what else.

These following are precipitating into a strong list for possible full-size possession consideration.

Tubereuse Couture 17 by Perfumerie Generale

Immediately bowled over by Perfumerie Generale's Tubereuse Couture. It satisfies a white flower fanatic's cravings. A full rush of creamy rich tuberose is mixed into a green so green it almost veers into cool mint. The slow dry down turns itself into an air of sophisticated elegant refinement. That more ethereal late form of the perfume's evolution displays as ethereal freshness. This is an air of great luxury and does indeed affiliate with the fashioned world of Couture. The skillful workmanship is divine. A standout, that requires confidence, and ultra feminine. Others in the room with you will know it is there, in its glory.

Notes listed as: kalamanzi oil, green jasmine shoots, ylang-ylang, sugar cane, Indian tuberose, Sumatra benzoin, papyrus.
Eau de Parfum, $125 50ml.

Apolo e Dafne. Piero Pollaiolo
Dryad by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Dryad by Papillon Artisan Perfumes turns itself into a tree, nymph like. You may then identify with that fragrant life. The effect envelops the skin. It brings you within the bark and sap infused fibers and the waving dark green leaves taking in sun. Dry and full bodied, the essence of a life force that is quiet and powerful, smooth and wise with time. Seasoned. A warm cloak of a perfume, like sun on skin. To be worn by anyone, anytime, anywhere. This could be a signature scent, for repeat wear. A sophisticated basic for the fragrant wardrobe, it holds a big personality at the same time. Chic and personal, indie/niche, yet easy to wear and a true enhancement. For me it grew more distinctive with wear, rather than fading out of my own perception as perfumes can often do. Not shy but not overtly intrusive, either.

Notes listed as: cedrat, bigaradier orange, bergamot, narcissus, oakmoss, jonquil, clary sage, orange blossom, lavender, orris, vetiver, thyme, galbanum, costus, tarragon, apricot, benzoin, peru balsam, styrax.
Eau de Parfum, $160 50ml.

Tobacco Rose by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Another by Papillon is Tobacco Rose, embodying the end of summer moment for me, this year. I think of it as a heartbreaker rose. The warmth of the strong rose character is so like the moment before hot tears flow. The tobacco is its earthy warmth, in dry blond harvested leaves. A subtle narcotic tone. A release of tension as this perfumes is absorbed. Evolves into a soft air that lingers like a long sunset in a walled garden. A medieval embroidery, a ceremonial beauty in fragrance form. In time, it burns down to the heart of the rose, an infusion that colors personal space like a musk. Livable, a meditation of a perfume, as a reminder of the solid core of beauty in the outside world.

Notes listed as: Bulgarian rose, rose de mai, oakmoss, ambergris, beeswax and Peru balsam
Eau de Parfum, $160 50 ml. 

Sortilège by Le Galion

A strong, emotionally affecting recreation of a vintage perfume. Direct, full of body, the warmth of a candle flame. Luminous, complex, a presence. For me, verging on serious, and sonorous, and a bit of a mind altering experience. That's because it brings me back to a facet of the aesthetic character of my earliest days. Reminds me of grown women wearing tailored clothing and even hats and long gloves on occasion. The aldehyde forefront is wearing a warm and warming fur coat. An ultra sensitive interpretation of a classical form of perfume. An idealized slice of the past, but right for today. Cleansed of cruel or brutal strength (no animal harmed, no overwhelming scent trail). Silky and voluminous, inspiring in its evocative harking to satin glamor. While wearable today, no matter what you've got on. This vintage style is not intimidating or over luxurious, but inviting and intimate; friendly.

Notes listed as:  lily of the valley, lilac, ylang-ylang, aldehydes, jasmine, mimosa, narcissus, rose, iris, sandalwood, vetiver, labdanum, musk, amber.
Eau de Parfum, $180 100ml.

Disclosures: Tubereuse Couture and Dryad samples purchased by me, Tobacco Rose and Sortilège samples provided by Twisted Lily in Brooklyn, NY.
Images above as caption credited, photo of Tobacco Rose from the LuckyScent site, photo of Sortilège from the Le Galion website.

Copyright 2017, Lucy Raubertas,  All Rights Reserved.