October 20, 2014

A Wing and a Prayer: Change, Plush & Dusk as Comfort Scents

Detail from a 19th Century Italian mirrored sconce.
These natural perfumes impart a sense of transparently clad
classically beautiful nakedness/skin.
Via A House Romance: Mirrors
A Wing and a Prayer is an all natural hand-made perfume company that has been around since 2008, run by two perfumers, Jane Cate and her daughter Sarah, in California, which is the home of several of my favorite beautiful independent and fully natural perfumeries. I have written about their perfumes before, as you can see here.   

I find the house style recalls variations on the theme of the velvety interiors of soft suede gloves and/or the silken linings of vintage handbags; intensified spaces that catch the scent signature of their owner, hints of their skin scent, and the classic natural essences of traditional perfume.

There are quite a few in the line that combine decoratively fragrant fruit and soft wood elements into warm and gentle comfort perfumes.  

I could imagine them worn by the ultra courteous and quietly passionate heroines of Jane Austen novels, or the refined lovers that appear in the ancient poems of China and Japan.  

With fully natural perfumes it's wise to sample and test first, if you know you are prone to allergies.  This line has been around long enough and I've known and used them enough to believe these would not trigger sensitivities in those who are not already big allergy sufferers.  As gentle as they are, they will still invite the wearer into the full aromatic beauties of natural essences. 

The Etsy shop currently has 249 five star reviews of enthusiastic feedback from natural perfume lovers. While these scents may recall the old fashioned perfumes of another time, I noticed there were mentions of teenage girls swiping their mother's generously sized samples, so there is a sensual appeal across the generational spectrum.  The samples sets and full sizes are refreshingly reasonable in price, packaged with care.
Chang'E also comes in this style of flacon.

Chang'E uses apricot, peach and cedar wood, mixed into a seamless whole that creates an aura generating olfactory heat rising up to unfurl floral and amber inflected details, along with other grace notes of classically natural elements.  There is both perfumer's alcohol and jojoba oil used in the carrier base, combining the diffusion of alcohol and the smoothness and hold of that highly absorbent oil.

Chang'E is inspired by the Moon Lady of the Autumn Moon Festival, and perhaps the moon cakes eaten while watching and even worshiping the moon. The soft fragrant heat matches both the warmth of the summer and the comforting  autumnal coziness of sweater weather. After an initial few moments of freshness there is a steep drop into an amber paneled room heated with a cedar wood fire, lit with candlelight and the natural sweetness of the floral elements, to convey a spirit of decorative subtlety and grace.

Plush has the more tangy fruit of mandarin set beside rosewood, against a background of dry heat from vetiver with galbanum, brightened ever so slightly with lily of the valley isolate and iris, to cool and delicately sweeten, as a whisper of clove gives a little kick.  As a unisex perfume it could not be more of a refined animal, like a well groomed pure bred hound or cat gracefully lounging around.

Vetiver, our old favorite oakmoss, and several oranges come together in Dusk, which is a round mellow orb of a perfume, inspired by the orange glow of the setting sun on the horizon.  It's that familiar scene when darkness hovers over the last glow, to drop down quickly with its coolness. 

Oakmoss brings in the shadow of the big old trees in the woods who gather dark shade near their roots even as their upper leaves bask in the sun's glow at every opportunity.  Oakmoss always has an instantly calming effect on me, for one thing.  For another, I think this is worth having on its own but also to experiment with as a layering element under or beside other perfumes that have lost their natural oakmoss in recent years. It comes in solid and roll-on forms also.   I  know people with ragweed allergy may be ultra sensitive to oakmoss, and it may trigger photo sensitivity, so that's something to bear in mind if you are likely to be susceptible. 

Please visit the Etsy shop for more information, sample sets, prices, and to check out the more than 70 perfumes in this line.

Disclosure:  I purchased these samples, and several other samples were also sent by the perfumer.

Copyright 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

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