December 18, 2013

Artemisia Natural Perfume

On Saveur de l'Abricot, Golden Hour, and Drifting Sparks:

Lisa Fong of Artemisia Natural Perfumes explains herself beautifully on the subject of making natural perfumes, when she describes them as:
  • "true artisan perfumes; more ethereal than synthetic fragrances;
  • subtle; they don't overwhelm others in a closed space;
  • about the experience of natural scent--about giving the wearer a sensory experience at the most complex level;
  • highly sensitive to each woman or man's personal chemistry;
  • the expression of years of sourcing and blending the finest elements to create a unique and artistic line of natural perfume."
It's not easy to make fully natural perfumes that are balanced, beautiful, clear, complex and with good longevity.  It takes great skill, experience, and a refined, exacting sensibility.

My first contact with these perfumes was through Maggie Mahboubian, who organized the FRAGments event in Los Angeles this past summer, where there were a number of wonderful indieperfumers new to me. Artemisia stood out to become one of my favorites.

Luis Meléndez
Still Life with Apricots and Cherries
I can't get enough of Saveur de l'abricot. After running out of my sample I had to get both the solid perfume version and the full size eau de parfum.  I found myself turning to this perfume over and over, during the course of this past summer, and now through the fall and well into winter.

It has a bright sunny disposition that is as rich as a cut open apricot sitting in afternoon sun. That apricot layer of slightly bitter tangy fruit overlies a pool of honeyed depth. Impressionist, velvety and sensual, it is combined with osmanthus, using the floral tone to lift its complexity up to the air and into the mind. The perfumer lists black currant and woods too, so I imagine the apricot melding into a wood accord that includes all the the charm of my memories of real sandalwood.  It's like a little candle flame that doesn't burn the skin, warming, bright, alive yet as smooth and silky as the outer skin of the ripe fruit.

Golden Hour is related in feeling and tone, but moves deeper into a warmer creamier serenity. The golden hour refers to that quality of light when the sun is low on the horizon (about 4 pm where I am) and rakes across every detail, enhancing everything with the most softest yellow light.  This time of day and natural light is prized by film makers and photographers and casts a beautifying glow over all things, both ordinary and extraordinary.  As does this perfume, which is another beauty I have on my list of musts to possess. The theme is one of glowing incandescence, with creamy tuberose, vanilla, cognac, night queen (leafy) and galbanum.

Harsingar, or night blooming jasmine tree
To complete the process of turning into the perfumed equivalent of a gentle cat in a trance-like state, lying with eyes half-closed in the sun, there is Drifting Sparks. As the perfumer says, "Fifteen traditional plants with musk qualities create base notes that unconsciously evoke pleasure." The perfume uses this musk accord with orange blossom, turkish rose, harshingar, and a soft gentle form of jasmine. over a base of ambergris, oud, black current, and angelica root.  The resulting effect is of a warm rich musk skin scent, one that enhances the personal aura.

I recently found out that musk is the most used element in modern perfumes, and may well be considered the defining and most characteristic perfume note of our day. It's no wonder, there is something about musk that is inherently soothing and relaxing, and versatile, in that it can go either clean and wholesome or turn sensually dirty and animalic, and rest everywhere in between along the scale of nuances. This beautiful subtle musk has a soft effect that gently magnifies personal presence.  It creates a beautifying bond with the skin to highlight the skin's own individuality, without shouting 'perfumed' in any way.  It's like being clad in your own thick clean fur, warmed and beautified.  Sort of like make up in perfume form, not so you'd notice, but enough to make your skin smoother, balanced and even, so your features can shine to best advantage.  It's also good layered with either of the other two above.

All the perfumes are hand made by the perfumer Lisa Fong in Oakland California, and can be obtained directly from her.  The prices are wonderfully accessible; $68 for 17ml and $29 for 7 gr of the solid perfume.  As usual, the solid form of the perfume is softer and holds the fragrance much closer to the skin, and is lovely for bringing along in a handbag or pocket for reapplication during a long day out.

Music to listen to perfume by: Nora Jones Live in New Orleans
Photos above gathered around the internet; please let me know if you can provide more perfect attribution.

Copyright 2013 Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.
Samples provided both by the perfumer and by purchase.
My reviews and posts are not paid for or compensated.


Jose Antonio said...

these perfumes are so good. I personally use them.

deana sidney said...

I've never thought of apricot as a perfume, but then I hadn't thought of fig either and I love it. Merry Christmas to you and thanks for a lovely year in perfume and scent. It's a guilty pleasure to read your blog on perfumes. It makes me feel like I've stepped in a luxurious world of scent with every visit.