Providence Perfume Co. was kind enough to send me a small box of assorted samples, which I have been enjoying for the past week or so. This is a well presented, completely hand made, fully natural perfume line, created by Charna Ethier, a native New Englander, whose story I find inspiring. I love when people just go ahead and do something when most would first seek validation or "permission" from the taste-makers that be. A number of natural perfumers are now trusting in their personal sensibilities, with well developed ideas about what they want to do, and they make what they would like to see in the real world that wasn't there before, and then find a way to get it out to the rest of us. Charna, by study and respect for nature, and instinctively drawn to the tradition of artisan made products of luxurious quality, has developed a unique style as a perfumer, grounded in the style and history of New England.
All of the perfumes are immediately appealing straight out of the gate, and have a strong undertow for me of a gourmand, consumable nature.
a delicate flower often used as an additive for tea, but in this perfume these effects are magnified so that the sweetness in the flower is most dominant while a deep astringent black tea is the background that heightens the brightness of the floral effect. As it wears the floral becomes more ethereal and almost celestial in tone, alternately quiet and then rising up around the skin to reach my awareness from time to time as clear as a bell. I find myself being surprised by wafts of it, like being visited by the spirit of the flower. The notes as listed on the site are a variety of teas and gold Japanese osmanthus flower with sueded apricot leathers and a touch of powder.
Ginger Lily is a sheer touch of gardenia like fragrance, with the ginger aspect tempered by bitter orange, all resting lightly on an amber base with mango, cloves and ylang ylang. The zesty ginger and amber cloves are predominant, so that the spiciness makes this both a feminine and masculine that works well in winter since it has the warmth to carry a sheer floral into a cold atmosphere.
I like that it comes in a variety of size/price ranges from $25 to $68 to $110, and that there are well thought out sample sets available to try the range at reasonable cost.
The Providence location of the company speaks to me personally, because I recall a couple of summers spent there at the end of my high school years, with friends who had rented one of the magnificent British Colonial houses which at that time were within our limited financially pooled reach. The hilly streets were full of complicated domestic architecture, and I enjoyed the old gardens and details of many British Indian colonial porches. These perfumes remind me also of the New England Far Eastern trade connection, and that this and other older port cities of the area made their first fortunes bringing back teas and spices and other consumables to the American market.
Chinese stamps depicting osthmanthus fragrans
Ginger Lily from Floridata, who offers the image as a free wallpaper for your computer.
Self Portrait in the Green Bugatti (1925) by Tamara de Lempicka. Oil on Wood. Private Collection
see link for interesting story on this era and artist.