Kedra Hart of Opus Oils, the perfumer, and Monica Miller the Perfume Pharmer, whose brief this was. There's something sharp and astringent in both versions, even a little on the racy side, overlaid with the soothing qualities of that childhood comfort, strawberry. One is cream and one is green. Both the green and cream are veiled over the basic structure of the perfume, which has a full-bodied wine-like personality.
Monica's idea is to use perfume as a medium for personal happiness and safety. She wants to have perfumes that "build olfactory memory" by
taking something like the perfume of a strawberry, crossing it with some beneficial emotional passion, and getting people to "think of a safe and happy
place" when you first smell it. Like a meditation on safety, goodness,
comfort. She believes that if people could build build positive associations with an "anchor scent" consciously, then that could be a really good thing in times of stress.
Combine this sensibility with the house style of Kedra Hart of Opus Oils, who has a down to earth, almost vintage sense of naughty yet innocent sexiness to her perfumes, and you get these two strawberry surprises. These are not like any strawberry perfumes you've ever encountered before. The strawberry is definitely there, but the most important thing is the passion and the pleasure.
This is a preliminary release to perfumer bloggers in the two versions, to get some feedback as to which one to choose to release as part of the line Monica intends to fashion. It's a privilege to be asked for my opinion.
I think the voices of the Peach and the Oakmoss are predominant in this one, liquified by Water Lily, kicked up a bit by the dark green of Ivy, and rendered sparkling by the fruit, especially the Mandarin, Black Currant and Strawberry elements. There is something beach-y about this fragrance, like the strawberries grow in the sand dunes behind the surf's edge in the tang of salt air. I like that sharp energy.
The notes for the Cream version are Martha's Vineyard Strawberry Flower Essence, Pink Pepper, Bergamot, Tangerine, Boronia, Natural Peach, Raspsberry and Strawberry Accord, Amber, Vanilla, Patchouli, Beach Found Ambergris, Sandalwood. It's very interesting how the Amber and Vanilla combine to recall a true heavy whipped-cream note. This one seems sleepier to me, the creamy amber is restful and conducive to a nap-time feeling.
I know that Monica has that tremendous ancestral memory of creamy pastries and whipped cream desserts at tea time from her childhood days, which could render this the most comforting of the two for her personally. I find this perfume even more delicately raunchy than the green, kind of like the scent of amateur night at a small town Southern burlesque house.
I agree with Monica, I think perfume can be used as a grounding in safety, goodness and comfort as needs be, and certain iconic scents, like strawberries, cream, and green freshness, can get you where you need to be through the most evocative sensory experiences that we have, good olfactory ones.
I look forward to the next in the series and I'm very curious to try them on as a suite. In the meantime, the two Strawberry Passion samples are available on Etsy.
Above top blinking image: Julie Longyear design, Katarina Silva, model.
Cream Tea image from My Waffle
The Artist Formerly Known As Prince;
Joanne Woodward on the set of The Stripper (she plays a small town burlesque dancer in the South in 1963) with her husband Paul Newman visiting her on the set, from IMDB. Terrific film.