October 1, 2014

Natural Perfumes for the Fall - House of Matriarch, Providence Perfume Co., Jolie Laide, and Aether Arts

Super Moon, AZ, photo by Justin Ashton on 500px.com
Fully natural perfumes made with skill and imagination work especially well in the Fall as the skin's heat and chemistry releases their nuanced beauty into a brisk atmosphere that sharpens up the sense of smell.  They are not easy to pull off, but here are some perfumers that have the touch. 

The many faceted aspects of natural perfume elements create a private sphere, like wrapping up in a silk or cashmere scarf, making a personal space of warmth and beauty that feels good on the skin. They will be enjoyed by others within intimate distance but most of all by the wearer who gets the full effect of the soft nuances unfolding over time. 

Because natural essences are made up of hundreds of molecules that affect each other and ourselves and our sensitive nervous systems in a complex way, they feel like listening to a piano and voices in the room with you; different than a recording of the same artists, and different than chemical reproductions and variations on a single aspect of an essence, as perfectly produced and imaginative as they may be. I am making no value judgments but some people are more drawn to what is basically the acoustic version of perfume.  Those live olfactory performances are like no other because of variations in the materials, and the one to one perfumer interactions with their favorite themes and materials.

Here are some natural perfumes whose beauty is brought out by this time of year.

Ambre Vie by House of Matriarch is sultry. A zone of gold toned warmth grows in strength with its more than one hundred natural ingredients, blooming into greater complexity over time. A purely amber experience, one so rich that any other element would be a distraction. Excellent longevity satisfies the amber cravings which are excited as the more you get, the more you want. A satisfying choice to keep in mind for those who compulsively chase the darkest deepest perfumes they can find. (Ahem, thinking of certain perfume-mad types I know who go wherever the dark ambers call them).

Bay Rum Botanical Artisan Cologne by Providence Perfume Co.

is based on the American New England classic. This is true rum, cut with lime, spices, sea spray and florals of jasmine and ylang ylang bottled with a West Indian bay leaf to continue its infusion. Rhode Island was the rum capital of the world in the Enlightened 18th Century, and I enjoy the bracing spirit energy that fuels it.  Spices with a dry herbal edge give it a hold on the skin beyond the usual cologne parameters. It's the aromatic equivalent to the blazing colors of the northern trees in Autumn. Traditionally a masculine cologne, but I and many other women who like the deep spicy warmth with an herbal edge will wear it too.

Cleo de 5 a 7 by Jolie Laide (aka unconventional beauty and the title of a film by Agnes Varda) is another one of this line's scent odes to French New Wave cinema, that artfully depicted the sense of randomness and hope of the early Sixties. The film (for a short excerpt see below) is about a delicately glamorous young pop singer who passes the time from 5 to 7 pm, when lovers usually meet in Paris, waiting to hear life and death test results from her doctor.  Roger Ebert's piece on it is a beautiful read,  as a synopsis and interpretation that points out how a sense of mortality brings a heightened beauty to the ordinary. This perfume has that same air of energy tinged with a sense of the sacred.  It wafts coolness in both senses of the word. Somehow the uplift of the scent hooks into a sense of anticipation and speed, time moving fast into the next moment. The site's description of the notes lists "1960's black leather clutch purse: tobacco, lipstick, perfume, and leather. ...pink lotus, jasmine sambac, and agarwood." On my skin I get freshness as incense, which sounds impossible but it's the concentrated waves of elegance and liveliness rising up from the skin more than anything else.

A Roll in the Grass by Aether Arts.  The scent of a fresh mown lawn is associated with summer, but I can never get enough because it's  one of my core favorite scent memories; and immediately stress reducing.  After that joyful green opening an undertone of mown hay and earthiness arises.  It's a complex composition with development that shades into a grounded pleasant ease. The site lists grass, cannabis accord, basil, oregano, fir, grapefruit, petitgrain, bergamot, sambac jasmine absolute, rose absolute, fruit notes, frankincense, galbanum, patchouli, oakmoss, and vetiver. Once the freshest of the top notes burn away the cannabis accord makes a subtle appearance, but never as a skunky full on weed tone, but rather a musky young wildness.  All those florals no doubt temper it all into a good natured soothing and comforting skin tone. As part of a series developed for Burning Man, it a gentle and skillful reference to how nature has the power to lift the stress away upon olfactory contact. 

Disclosure: Samples other than Ambre Vie were provided by the perfumers.

Re Ambre Vie: a generous decant was gifted to me by Ida Meister, please see my post on FRAGments for more on House of Matriarch and Jolie Laide.

Re: the film Cleo from 5 to 7, you can see most of it on YouTube, here's one lovely part which shows the restraint, artifice pride and beauty of the main character, set in 1962 Paris interiors. 

Copyright 2014 Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.


deana sidney said...

I do love those dark perfumes and how grand to have something inspired by that great film. A masterpiece.
You never steer me wrong on scents...

Lucy said...

Hey Deana, this is the busy season for new releases, lots of good things have come my way lately.

Thang said...

Thanks for your list. I will try some scent

Melissa Pham said...

I didn't know about that. Thank you for your sharing!