January 13, 2015

Mik Moi Acqua Fortis and Lingua Franca

NASA photo of Earth from space.
Mik Moi demonstrates a style of perfume that is sparkling, vibrant, lively, uplifting and fresh, even while using the darkest and deepest of mystical perfume materials.

His two most recent perfumes have a brilliantly sparkling modern effect, synthesizing a harmony between East and West, based on his wide researches into the past. In Acqua Fortis the mystical approach to balance of body and soul is referenced by both Medieval Alchemical magic waters and Feng Shui cures for luck and health. With Lingua Franca, the various world cultures of East and West always find a way to communicate and embrace each other, by necessity and with style.

Acqua Fortis is balanced along the lines of the elements as understood by the old worlds of both East and West, quoting this inspiration: "A heart strong enough to melt gold, and hearts of gold alike, the result of visions past, present, future and future perfect."

Petit Grain and Saffron Musk for Metal, the element that rules Wealth, Precious Rarity, and Endurance. Bois de Rose and Pine Needle, for the principals of Growth, Resources and Expansion, as manifested by the element of Wood. Pink Pepper and Lapsang Souchong for the Fire realms of Passion, Warmth and Attraction. Stone Fruit and Hay notes for the realm of Earth, that rules Creativity, Intelligence and Strength. Yuzu and Ambergris for the Water elements of Recognition, Flow and Effortlessness.

Here is a cologne-like energy and transparency bonded to the strength of a perfume.  The elements combine and sing together as a chorus, not breaking apart, but adding their innate strength to each other to bring out the details of the heat within Pepper and Pine, floating over a base of ambergris toned with Hay and Lapsang Soochong. All notes and elements are in balance so as to emit an energy that is both warm and alert. Opposites unite with the tingling spices and herbs holding onto the skin as part of a musky group hug of all the notes, as they stand together in a bright open hay barn built with fresh cut timbers of bois de rose.

This creative and original modern perfume is immediately appealing from first impression. I can't get enough of it and would say this is one for my full bottle wish list because of its immediate appeal and subtle intelligence. It has a moderate but true throw from the site of application, and is a pleasure to wear, as well as being a fragrance that works for people of all genders.

Lingua Franca - Mik Moi
Lingua Franca is another hit for me.  Based on the principal of a shared language, spontaneously arising and  "making communication possible between those without a common native tongue. Examples have arisen in trading ports around the globe throughout human history."

This one has the same feel of a bright and energetic cologne that holds the strength and character of a perfume.  It's a lyrical mood, a friendly enticing charmer.  I get the sense of bathing in a limpid reflecting pool that supports the body as it floats between heaven and earth and thereby buoys up the spirits. It is based on several ports of the world that through history have traded internationally with various cultures that communicate through their personal beauty and a desire for each other's 'goods'.  A common language incorporating several spontaneously arises so that the various cultures may make exchanges with each other. Citruses, spices and incense notes from all of the continents are deliberately balanced to evoke a sense of discovery and the romance of distinctive cultures and races meeting and mixing together.

The top notes are based on the concept of Meeting, set in the cafes of the port cities of of Italy, Africa, Spain and the South Pacific, using the 'souvenirs' of Antique Lemongrass, Yellow Mandarin, Tagettes, Yuzu, Lime and Pineapple.

The middle notes are based on the concept of Sharing, as set in the gardens of various cities and their inns for resting up after world travels and relaxing with your fellow travelers,  with appetite enhancing spices,  and florals. The mix means to evoke the essence of the ports of Southern U.S, various parts of North Africa, and the South of France.  

Blond Tobacco, Neroli, Ylang Ylang, Allspice, Gallic rose and Carnation do indeed make for the feel of an indolent afternoon spent enjoying the bounty of the world. The intoxicating aspects of a mild tobacco and citric floral and spicy rose are gently and softly present.

The base notes are based on the principal of the Embrace (as they would hold most closely to the skin for the longest time). These are incenses of many cultures coming from various ports in Southeastern Asia, Australia, Indonesia, Canada and Spain.  The 'souvenirs' are listed as Frankincense, Palo Santo, Agarwood, Ambergris, Vetiver, Castorium and Labdanum.

This is a citrus incense perfume for ease, for rest and recovery from long and arduous efforts and travel and interactions.

Aqua Fortis expresses a mood for the excitement of discovery and an active, varied life, while Lingua Franca is for the pleasures of rest and harmony. Both are extraordinary and astonishingly lovely. 

I am enthusiastic for the back story as a creative combination of many influences and a balance of the Eastern and Western influences that I know this perfumer lives with on a daily basis.

I have met the perfumer and feel his base in San Francisco and his eclectic tastes for the deepest and most beautiful aspects of the East, after being thoroughly steeped in the history of various Western cultures, is expressed with special sense of harmony and beauty through his perfumes.  I believe he sees the entire globe as one being with separate elements that enhance and beautify each other through their specific differences.

The perfumer has recently exhibited his concepts of What Harmony Smells Like at a gallery in San Francisco.  Please come to his site for more information and details. Also please visit the site for info and prices and stockists or to purchase the perfume directly.

1.5ml samples are available and come with a scroll wrapped around that explains it all in clear and evocative language.

Please see my prior post on Mik Moi for more information.

Copyright 2015, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

Photos above - the globe photographed by NASA from outer space, the perfumes from the perfumer's site.
Disclosure - I received samples of the perfumes directly from the perfumer.

December 29, 2014

The Brilliant Collection by DSH Perfumes

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is often inspired by the special exhibits at the Denver Art Museum, and has interpreted their show on Cartier with four perfumes relating to the qualities of gemstones and certain personalities identified with them.

All four perfumes (edp strength) share a certain vintage tone reminiscent of the European classic perfumes, and also I find the beauty of each perfume's  theme  - diamond, sapphire, ruby and gold rises up through a signature aquatic/metallic background that creates an atmosphere calling to the coolness of feel and metallic settings of highly polished and faceted gemstones.  The center fire and depth of the gems relate to the core natural elements and classic perfume notes such as rose, hyacinth, gardenia, and aldehydes, and that sense of concentrated power associated with sophistication, opulence, luxury identified with the adornments of celebrity.

Diamond and Ebony Jaguar Bracelet, courtship gift of jewelry to Wallis Simpson and designed for her
Deco Diamonds is associated with Wallis Simpson, and I get a clean contemporary edge supported by an art deco chypre background. These opposites are balanced and poised, resembling the public persona of a society woman who both successfully and unsuccessfully crashed the aristocracy (captured a King, but never became Queen) with the mood and notes symbolic of  irresistible romance and a fantastically privileged art deco stylized opulence, always strictly restrained by skillful design.  This is a perfume you might wear on Wall Street, or anywhere where the pure scent of money would be appreciated by those most discerning of its uses for subtle understated power.

Marie of Romania's Cartier Sapphire
Jacinthe de Sapphir is an example of one of my favorite DSH special effects, which is to throw the beautiful arc-light fire within high-pitched floral tones into greater relief and detail by wrapping them into a deeper base, to bring out an almost iridescent tone in their floral qualities. This one too rises through a pure limpid water/mirror-like atmosphere.  Violet leaf,  hyacinth and tuberose are in focus, over tolu and peru balsam, associating with the heady blueness of sapphires.  Referencing the largest Cartier sapphire of all (over 450 carats) as worn by Marie of Romania, one of the final, most glamorous and popular stars of the aristocracy.

Elizabeth Taylor's rubies, gift of Mike Todd at the swimming pool
Rubis Rose starts with a raspberry-tinged natural rose and then lifts up with a peppered tang, then falls overboard into a deep pool of aromatic resins like frankincense and myrrh, recalling the sensuality associated with the deep and precious redness of rubies.  Elizabeth Taylor could carry the spectacular jewelry she collected as gifts from her many wealthy husbands who knew she craved jewels that enhanced her legend and beauty. They were indeed a tribute and traditional validation of her legendary beauty. One of her most famous presents was a Cartier set of rubies and diamonds from Mike Todd, and the perfume references the seductive quality of roses and red, romance and luxury with precious perfume materials.  Rose permeates the entire experience and carries on well into staining the long lingering precious resinous base notes, legendary in their own right as the gifts of the Magi. I associate all this with the traditional hyper-feminine beauty of the mid 1950s, and the beginning of celebrity culture that hit all the luxurious, classic, overtly seductive, yet traditionally valued qualities of that Hollywood heyday. This perfume holds closer to the skin in the more modern style.  In those days people wanted to knock everyone dead with their unquestionable fabulousness, but we now enjoy a more subtle message and are still deeply moved by the same signs of classic beauty as such a famous star once was, with this composition.

Fumee d'Or opens with wood smoke and a warm metallic tinge, as the perfumer was thinking about an old goldsmith's workshop, where the precious metal was melted and shaped with the heat of a burning furnace, and the artisan wore a no doubt warmed-up thick leather apron.  This perfume is meant to both stand on its own and act as a setting for the others, as she invites us to directly apply the above gem inspired perfumes over this golden smoke, as a base to enjoy an enhanced effect. Birch tar and metallic aldehydes and civet create an imaginary atmospheric tone that does not literally represent gold itself but the experience of the jeweler who works with it and the precious gem stones that inspired the three perfumes described above.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz continually surprises and enchants with a subtle, dimensional approach, linking perfume with themes and experiences that are rooted in both primal and cultural memories of nature and the past, synthesized to a contemporary taste that respects the gentility of complex and subtle sensations in reaction to each other.

For me the prime objective is always does the adornment flatter the wearer?  These perfumes enhance the persona and bring out the elegance and an appealing well-informed intelligence.  They are a combination of sensuality and thoughtfulness.

Please see each of the linked perfume names to go directly to the perfumer's site for more details on and complete notes, and to order samples and varied sizes as available.

Disclosure:  I received these samples directly from the perfumer and have known her for quite some time. Please use the search bar with Dawn Spencer Hurwitz for several more posts about her perfumes on this site.

The Brilliant Collection

Copyright December 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved

December 16, 2014

House of Cherry Bomb-Brooklyn Atelier Perfumes

DUMBO Brooklyn, NY
The House of Cherry Bomb collaboration of Maria McElroy and Alexis Karl has put together a collection of what they call Atelier perfumes, in limited edition or made to order as necessary, as seasonal responses to how they feel and what's on their minds. The new ones are released at intimate perfume parties at their Brooklyn studio.  

I have collected most of them myself; and happy to find they are deliberately kept well priced so they remain affordable as a collection to their fans. Available only directly through them at the Brooklyn DUMBO Atelier, or online, layers of mark up are avoided and their strong word of mouth much reduces the work of marketing.

I have written about most of them before, but I thought I would bring them all together in one post so they can be referenced as one collection.  They have a sophisticated lyrical minimalist spirit, the presentation is an elegant leather band wrapped around an etched spray flacon, and their tone is focused and direct.  Many of them layer with each other in an appealing way. They are lovely to experiment with, and easy to love.  These are not perfumes that are difficult or that you must develop a taste for; they are immediate pleasures for the aromatically inclined of all levels of experience. Then can be worn applied either lightly or with abandon and work both ways.

Cardamon Rose is a favorite of mine for hot weather but good anytime. Cardamon and rose water is a traditional Middle Eastern combination, and in this form ornaments the skin with a dessert-like dry champagne effect that is not sweet at all. Effervescent in nature, it mixes with whatever humidity is in the air to turn it into something refreshing.  If you know cardamon through the tea, that distinctive tone is here, inflamed by a dewy rose, a hint of orange and a whisper of spiciness, holding itself onto you with a coolness that recalls the structured vintage summer dresses the perfumers wear with bright red lipstick, wrapped up in their elegant vapors. If it's not summer I recommend trying it in your hair, as it will be tenacious there and lovely in cooler weather. 

Tobacco Cognac is at the other end of the perfume spectrum, slanted to winter and masculine in a manner that would not stop a true lover of deep and dark perfumes, of whatever gender. Using the house specialty of fossilized amber, and the last of their vintage Arabian musk, tobacco, cognac, and a little smoke, it's deep but still maintains that clear as a bell style that incorporates energy and the depth bomb effect they favor, as do I, of deep sultry notes. 

Cognac brings up the brightness and energy, so that it's not an over heavy aromatic burden but a warm cloak to draw about for comfort and depth.  I think of the wallpaper in Sherlock Holme's study, imbued with his pipe smoke and the vapors of many nights of drinking before the fire with the fog outside and crime around the corner.

Swanson by Steichen
When I found out there was a Tuberose Tobacco Cognac version, a further permutation on the deep dark scale with the addition of a soprano honeysuckle and Moroccan tuberose, I thought these two perfumers were reading my mind because this combination of dark and light is one I often pursue myself, with layering when I have to. The wide contrasts bring out the details in each. This freshness of heady florals set beside the earthy tobacco and aromatic brandy is a Valentine's Day celebration in liquid form, and somehow even though all the ingredients are traditional, the romanticism is modern because it is so pure and itself, especially presented as the transparent veil it is.  Watch the carnival pass by through the black lace of your mantilla and think about having a smoke.

Violet Green Tea Honeysuckle calls out to the spring, even as a winter floral. I'm getting that forced narcissus in the heated room effect that I love. A tiny amount of powdered dust from the crumbling rained-on old blue slate pavements, Ray Davies' voice singing Waterloo Sunset, limpid eyes, green gunpowder tea exerting a little control over the potentially unruly headiness, indeed adding a spine with good posture. Again not sweet though growing a little sweeter as time goes on, this is a simple and direct form of elegance, staying in the heady lane, without crossing the wider modern bounds of sophistication.  In other words, the essence of an adult longing for spring sans sentimentality or going overboard with too much lily of the valley. 

Pink Haze is from the PLP Project, about which I posted last time, so I'll start by quoting myself, to say this one captures Brooklyn's very specific city and earthy metallic feel, lightened by cherry and apple blossom petals, to be an infusion of the natural into a man-made environment. There is a glow that comes through clearly within the perfume, inspired by those pink sunsets over the rivers and reflected in the glass of a million windows. There's a relation to Violet Green above, with tones of lilac, stone, and beeswax making it earthier and more romantically emotional.  

Coffee Amber Vanilla is a full rich rendition of these three soothing sensory stimulants all together, veering close to the intoxicating end of the olfactory scale, in the house style.  A gourmand liqueur that might fuel a winter's day and night, entering into the spirit of black/brown sepia that sinks into the skin like an ink stain. It dwells the longest in the upper register of a new kind of incense that burns coffee and amber vapors so that you may then give yourself up to the worship of the concentrated brunette beauties of dark vanilla, chestnut, agar and oud. Try this and hopefully get it worked into your sweaters and scarves, and enjoy the cashmere softness it will veil over your winter wools.

There's a discovery set available, as a nice gift to yourself or others.

I know the perfumers well and follow their work, and this post has been based on perfumes I have purchased with a couple of samples provided by the perfumers. 

Please follow the links to their online sites for more details and to order.

Copyright 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved,

Images of the perfumes from the perfumers.
Image of DUMBO found online w/o attribution, please let me know if you know it.  Gloria Swanson in the iconic photo by Edward Steichen.

December 9, 2014

PLP Perfume Project

Carlos J Powell of PLP, Goodsmellas, Brooklyn
Fragrance Lover, etc.

The PLP Perfume Project was inspired by the theme of Peace Love and Perfume, a fragrance group of online friends who were brought together on Facebook and often in person, too, by Carlos J. Powell, who promotes the love of perfume online and at events, encompassing a full range of styles and tastes. He creates perfume review videos as the Brooklyn Fragrance Lover, blogs and and also organizes the Goodsmellas group which has focused attention on the rapidly growing interest in fine and niche perfume among men from a wide variety of backgrounds.

There are many fragrance groups online but Carlos maintains a special atmosphere that focuses especially on the qualities of Peace, Love and Perfume, so that it's a space for appreciation that helps introduce a wide range of people from all over the country and internationally to perfumes they otherwise might not run across on their own.  The civility, open mindedness and pure enthusiasm is a rare combination in the online world and makes for a safe space to explore and discuss those fragrances that are close to the members' hearts.  Carlos has a great talent for bringing people together around perfume and takes a lot of joy in it.  As he often says, quoting a famous source, "perfume and incense bring joy to the heart."  He asked several of his favorite indie perfumers to participate in a group perfume project to embody the spirit of the PLP group.

New York Man by Envoyage
New York Man - by Shelley Waddington of Envoyage Perfume.  This is a subtle and transparent dark perfume, highly animalic and musky but at the same time subtle and stealthy in its power.  It begins as if nothing will happen at all, seeming to be almost invisible, and then rises up from the skin as it warms to become ever more a presence, increasing itself into a highly decorative skin scent, a silky envelope of warmth and velvety ambiguity.  It's quite abstract, and doesn't remind or recall anything, acting kind of like instrumental mood music, maybe New York House and Electro, or early trance/rave washed up on our East Coast shores from the UK. Directly inspired by Carlos Powell of PLP, I know the perfumer and her subject have never actually met, but this is her tribute to the presence he's made felt through all of his many online trails. Slanted to masculine but notwithstanding the name I would wear it with no qualms as I am always looking for another musk experience that will lead me further down the road opened by Bruno Acampuro's Musc.  For me that means a relaxing subtle and a true atmospheric fragrance that creates an aura, and this perfume certainly puts me in that place of comforting body scent beautified by skillful emphasis on all the right things.

Pink Haze by The House of Cherry Bomb
Pink Haze - by Maria McElroy and Alexis Karl of The House of Cherry Bomb.  A truly Brooklyn inspired fragrance, composed of the fragile and fragrant petals of street trees in bloom, mixed with the scent of gritty sidewalks and traffic soot, washed by rains and collecting together at the street corners. That very specific city and earthy metallic feel as lightened by cherry and apple blossom petals, that infusion of the natural into the man made environment.  There is a glow that comes through clearly within the perfume, inspired by those pink sunsets over the rivers and reflected in the glass of a million windows. People in Brooklyn sometimes get a little high when a form of natural beauty presents itself, it's always a surprise and delight, like those aforementioned pink sunsets and pink petals set against the greys of steel and sidewalks. Hence the lovely short song voiced by Alexis Karl on their video for the fragrance, based on the Jimi Hendrix classic, which has a sensuality that evokes the true spirit of this perfume.

Peace, Love and Perfume by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH perfumes.  The PLP group concept was divided into the three component parts, Peace as a meditative incense, Love as a romantic perfume laced with animalic tones, and Perfume as a classic cologne formula updated into a more contemporary feel.  

Peace holds a soothing deep woodsy incense cloud within, and embodies an East/West aromatic mix.  The incense and woods are so closely bonded they are perfectly equal. Resin, oud and attar together softened by the great moderator, Rose de Mai and lightly powdered by Orris, for me combines into the effect of the fine sandalwood of my dreams, as I fondly remember it. A powdery woodsy-ness gives it a comfortable familiar, almost child-like innocence.

Peace Love and Perfume by DSH
Love is a dark dark vanillic rose, a rose reduced over a long simmer to a caramelized state. Super urban and highly animalic, I find it more masculine than even I would attempt to carry off, so I would have to admit this one's for the boys, even though that kind of strictly gender specific perfume designation is against my general principals. The animalic aspect is stronger than the rose by far, but the florals tame that wildness somewhat to make it soft for all its strength.  Those fans of the most 'skanky' of vintage perfumes should assuage their cravings by trying this one.  After it settles down a bit of pepper peeks out, cut with a little cool aldehyde to balance it all.  Definitely a fully tatted old school Brooklyn gangsta rap level of skank going on in this infatuation/romance.

Perfume is based on the aesthetic of the classic cologne but made with non-traditional materials of grapefruit, rhubarb and cognac spiraling down to a fruity and creamy finish.  A complex composition of varied essences that work together to give that characteristic lift and refreshment of a traditional cologne, cloaked in clever choices of fruit and herbs not typical of the cologne genre.  This will also be available in an Absolute strength in limited edition. I think this one would be highly pleasing to a general audience on a beauty appeal level, but reveals its more subtle comments on perfume tradition to the more experienced perfume aficionado.

Chocolate LOVE Coffret by Kedra Hart of Opus Oils concentrates on the Love in PLP as expressed through the sweetness and velvet smoothness of ultra rich chocolates.  There are four perfumes and they are all going to make you smell like a box of the most chocolate chocolates imaginable, at least initially. Those who are gourmand fans are fully indulged in this predilection here. The smallest drop will soak you in deep chocolate scented by the  four different flavors.

White Chocolate from the Chocolate LOVE Coffret by Opus Oils
Though I love chocolate I am not a fan of very realistic chocolate perfumes, but that said, I find Violet Lilac Dream the most relatable and wearable for me.  It's a fantasy chocolate that indulges an old wish of mine. We have an old-school chocolate shop in the West Village of NYC called Li-Lac and this fragrance makes me think of what I always hoped for from the name of that shop. I wanted a lilac/violet infused dark chocolate, and that is made so realistically  in this perfume it is almost the same as having a smooth chocolate melting in your mouth, infused with hints of those two evocative perfume accords.   After awhile the chocolate burns away and a delicate violet/ lilac is left, deepened by the last vestiges of chocolate, combined with a woodsiness in the base that makes for true lyricism.

Dark Chocolate Royale is a deep dark chocolate infused with amber, whose primary initial hit of strong chocolate dries down to an predominantly amber-infused dark chocolate scent.  White Chocolate Delight begins as a super sweet chocolate, as is typical of that type, but then dries down to a more delicate floral with a creamy undertone.  Both morph into a body scent that references chocolate more distantly but uses its darkness and depth to ground and hold the top notes that cling for quite a long time.

Raspberry Rose Rapture is much like a chocolate covered cherry just as you bite into one, with a strong sugary sweet candy note real enough to almost taste it. This one is so realistically chocolate of a certain type that it's almost like a representational illustration of that sensation, in fragrance form. A lot of people have come to associate true love with the taste and smell of chocolate, red roses and raspberries with whipped cream, from years of celebrating Valentine's Day that way, so these signals might call forth the classic Pavolvian response.  It quickly calms down to a much more delicate and refined rendition of sweet rose and berry notes over cream.

Peace, Love and Perfume by Olympic Orchids
Peace, Love and Perfume by Ellen Covey of Olympic Orchids divides the three aspects into three fragrances that soften quickly and can be worn alone or layered together.   Peace opens with a vetiver-ed incense mix of varied calming base notes, dark but transparent, representing the base of the scent triangle.  Love hovers within the  centered, earthy and grounded heart, a middle balanced by a blue lotus accord mixed with some of the Peace perfume elements.  Perfume is a bright dry and fresh cologne emphasizing the top notes, with an evergreen and herbaceous edge. A perfume concept divided into three component parts that can be mixed by the wearer to their preference, with the result based on order of layering, or how it is applied, either directly on top of or beside each other or on different areas of the body, mixing together in the air itself.

Please hit the links above to go directly to the perfumers' sites which will give more details on notes and pricing.  Please see the links in the first two paragraphs for Carlos J. Powell online in videos and blogs.  Carlos has a lot of interests in addition to perfume.  There's music, photography, cooking and two exceptionally cute tuxedo cats. There's a lot online as he is generous in sharing his enthusiasms.

Images above were taken from the perfumers' sites from pages relating to the PLP Perfume Project.
Samples were provided by the perfumers at the request of Carlos J. Powell of PLP.  This post was not commissioned or compensated.  I know Carlos and several of the above perfumers personally and have written about them all before, so please give the search button a try for a lot more about them all.

Copyright 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

November 21, 2014

Midwest Indie: Madame Scodioli

I've been collecting the solid perfumes of Madame Scodioli for some time now.  When at first and by chance I ran across her solid perfume Laudanum, I had to have it, based on the name alone.  That solid scent proved to be both intoxicating and soothing, just as I hoped it would be.  It's a combination of pipe tobacco and strong black tea, fully redolent of my scent memories of nicotine and caffeine, those two All-American soothers and stimulants.

Then I was drawn further  into her carnival sideshow website, and the life she described in a time warp set in Salina, Kansas, the rest stop for the traveling circus side-show attraction that she styles herself to be, that is, a Bearded Lady. It makes perfect sense, as her perfumes lean toward the masculine side of the aisle but are highly attractive to the feminine sensibility too.  Indeed a portrait of herself is featured on all the solid perfumes, as a pretty turn-of-the-century lady stroking her well-groomed beard.

I was more than willing to enter into the spirit, especially on reading her copy describing Laudanum
"...dominant notes of pipe tobacco and black tea, and hints of fruit and spice. This scent reminds the Madame of sitting in the parlor of the troupe's stygian Horned Devil Man."

Well yes.  So I went on to order Cloven, featuring a number of my favorite fragrance elements of amber, sandalwood, vanilla and cedarwood.  Those magic words!

As described on the site:
"...the perfect scent for our troupe's own cloven footed lady, who glides so gracefully across stage before the captivated crowds. She's a showstopper, ladies and gents, and we think you'll feel the same..."

Rather milder than Laudanum, its charm recalls the scent of a smooth waxed wooden floor, a little heat thrown up by the striking of heels against the polished surface, subtle, a restrained passion like the beginning of a flamenco dance, and the fragrant light powder on the ladies' faces as they clap along.

Then I came upon Fortunato, themed on Pine, Smoke and Whiskey, a scented balm held within beeswax, sunflower and sweet almond oil, and vitamin E. How could it not be beneficial to both body and spirit?  Something like dozing over a stiff drink in the woods before the campfire. Or reading in a library lit with beeswax candles feeling the alcohol running through your veins. If you can't get to either place and would like to, you might try this perfume to bring you there in spirit if not in fact.

Step Right Up is a refreshing if "exotic"  blend of "cedar, smoky patchouli and sandalwood, musky saffron and finished with a touch of vetyver." I find it close to becoming my ultimate comfort scent for going to bed, rubbed into the base of the throat like a salve, at the temples and wrists, to be carried away on the waves of the anticipation of rest. All those notes sound like show-stoppers but they combine into a mild and decorative softness, to soothe and beautify the darkness without taking over.

All these details and nuances hit the chords for me of the old Ray Bradbury stories of the traveling carnival, and the Western pioneers, both rough and refined in their elegant physicality. These are mythic scents of the characters that went their own way with quite an individual sense of style and their own standards of practicality around morality, in good times or bad.

These are not the candy and soda scents of the drive-in entertainments of later years, or the animal scents of the circuses, but the scents of individuals who were unusual visions in themselves, showing off for money before the public.  As much as we'd all like to be celebrities at least in our own minds nowadays, that impulse is not new, it was born of a time when the most unusual of us vied for the public's attention with energy and much to impart in the way of self-knowledge, just from being so different.

I like the concept as translated into perfume and grooming aids.  I also appreciate how Madame Scodioli describes herself as two people in one. In the guise of Madame Scodioli, she is:

"Owner, Maker, Stoic Figurehead, Bearded lady. Soapmaker. Perfumer. Relentless perfectionist. Facial hair enthusiast. Lover of antiques, whiskey, chocolate and shoes."

In her guise as D.H. Riley (Doghouse Riley) she is:

"the Madame's devoted assistant and aspiring Painted Lady. The troupe found her on a barstool in Omaha." 

The two are one and the same, the perfumer does all herself, from design to hand pour to writing copy.

These solid perfumes are extremely well priced and generously proportioned (1 ounce for $16 ) so they are great to collect or give as little gifts, and perfect to carry around, as these flat disk like  tins have a secure screw-top lid.  There is also a sample program.  Most of the scent described above and many of the others on the site also come in other forms such as whisker wax, shaving soap or beard tonic, and also in liquid eau de parfum, 1 ounce for $30. 

Don't be misled by the simplicity, there is a sense of design that makes for a rich perfume experiences captured in wax, holding close to the skin but strong enough to make their presence known to you alone as you dwell in them.

Madame Scodioli also collaborates with others, my favorite of these is Ms. Cloven, a jewelry designer. They've made a look book together with beautifully earthy and enviable pieces paired with the perfumes. 

A visit to the site will deliver much that is well worth pursuing. Be sure to check out the old farmhouse Madame is restoring in her free time, to become a storefront at some later date.  

Above images from the Madame Scodioli website.  
Samples and perfumes from my own collection.

Copyright 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.