I've written about all these perfumers before a number of times, but these are certain of their newer perfumes that hit the right spot in this warmer season. This is the second part of two on my Summer perfume rotation.
6. Cape Heartache by Imaginary Authors. This one fulfills the promise of its ultra-interesting site's copy upon extended wear, and I have learned to use several sprays to gain presence because it is deceptively retiring at first. Over time it gathers strength, breathing out and spreading the essence of a variety of dark evergreens. A cool mist lies over the snap and aromatic release of a million dry needles at each step.
The effect of this distillation of feral and ancient natural saps is one of long-abiding aromatic freshness. There is something specifically and purely refreshing about this evergreen air, especially as couched in a warm background that contains and then magnifies. The details come through like tiny buds emanating sweetness, an impression of fresh pure air cooled by the moisture of mountain fog. I can't help but be influenced by the list of ingredients clearly printed on the label in bold typeface, which are Douglas Fir, Pine resin, Western Hemlock, vanilla leaf, strawberry, and Old Growth Mountain Fog. This is a aerated experience that uplifts the spirit in a quietly sophisticated way, and comes back to you later if it has rubbed into anything you have worn and will re-wear.
7. Cardamom Rose by House of Cherry Bomb. This is a rosy cool shade held over you by a fragrant parasol. Cardamom and rose are balanced, if weighted toward cardamom. This perfume lies against the skin as if you've bathed in a aromatic spiced tea. There's no heat to this spice, the freshness of cardamon in this strength holds back any full blown old fashioned romantic associations that may cling to your memory in association with roses. While cardamom and rose are a classic traditional Middle Eastern combination, in this case the thoroughly modern rose plays the role of a centering anchor. Easy to wear, its innate delicate strength is versatile, and works with a range of style in self-presentation, from formality to the most casual weekend.
The delicacy of this perfume belies its tenaciousness. It also goes well with the sheen of moisture that comes from walking through the unshaded urban landscape in the heat, transforming and purifying stickiness. In a dry climate's heat I bet it would even do more to tame the fiercest hot days. This is one from their atelier series. One is made each season, and until recently could only be found by visiting the studio in Brooklyn or by directly phoning the perfumers, but now these intentionally well-priced limited edition perfumes have been made available separately online, where you can also find samples of all four made so far. The two perfumers, Maria Mcelroy and Alexis Karl are doing exciting things together, combining their sultry and elegant perfume personas.
Waters of Aswan by Juan Perez. 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 the hot days and nights.
9. Scent of Hope Extract (based on Iris Gris) by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. I don't know the original Iris Gris so I can't make any comparisons; I can only enjoy this perfume on its own terms. It carries me away with its subtle coolness, an iris that throws off sparks, couched in the most tender base redolent of skin and dark wood. Exquisiteness is a sensation often evoked by DSH, and she frequently finds inspiration in vintage perfumes. She has created several such tributes, but I find her interpretations more subtle than the vintage perfumes I have tried, with a sparkly clarity that does without the sharp edge I have come to associate with vintage.
This one creates a celestial presence, an aura of refinement surrounding body heat. I feel it calls to the more refined aspects of personality, a pleasure that is easy yet can file down the rough edges of mood or circumstance. I think the word Hope has been used in the name because it shares that same indefinable spirited uplift.
10. Laudanum by Madame Scodioli (solid scent). This is a simpler pleasure but no less welcome for that, composed of the dark aspects of tobacco and black tea mixed together. The contrast between them, one a relaxing substance and the other a mild stimulant hold together as complementary to each other. The mix of two such complex fragrance materials together causes much refinement to descend, in a gently bracing and soothing way. Having often read of laudanum and its effects and its widespread use in the nineteenth century I understand that many became thoroughly addicted to it. As a close relative of opium I had imagined it as a close, dark, soft peaceful cloud, as this is. It is well suited to unexpectedly damp or cool evenings before or after a thunderstorm, or with a morning fog when a different weather front arrives, charging the air.
Madame Scodioli is a Kansas City indie perfumer who presents herself as a bearded lady of the circus, based on a turn of the past century vintage wholesome simplicity, crossed with the wear and tear of decadence as lived by the show folk who travelled the West, to entertain the thrill-starved tough audiences of the rural back roads. This is my favorite so far of her many solid perfumes which are all forthright combinations of classic 19th century staples in solid perfume form, all hand-made on themes taken from those times gone by.
Follow the links above to go directly to the perfume's sites for more information, prices and to order.
Photo images above found on Pinterest; please advise if you have any credit information.
Sample of Scent of Hope provided by the perfumer, all the rest from my own collection.
The opinions expressed are my own, without commercial sponsorship.
Copyright 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.