|Fragments of dried Orris root|
Earlier this year the annual FRAGments event was held at the Neutra Institute Museum and Gallery in Los Angeles, organized by Maggie Mahboubian of Lalun Naturals. It is an underground, artisan and indieperfume collective event to expose such perfumers to the public, and vice versa.
Several highly inventive and interesting perfumers take part, to establish a sense of community among the perfumers and outreach toward those in the area. Los Angeles and its environs holds a big audience for beauty made by hand, for self adornments that attract and delight others, and a special appreciation for sensitivity to nature and the environment.
To quote from the description on the group's discussion page on Facebook:
Artisan perfumery is a growing movement where individuals are exploring unique olfactory directions through a variety of fragrant media.
Yet, very few venues exist for these perfumers to present their work that may also have limited distribution. While it is possible to purchase sample sets online or read reviews, nothing beats experiencing these creations in person, especially if they are celebrated in a special event.
To this end FRAGments has been created to provide a small scale, intimate forum for artisan perfumers to present their work where all perfumers will have equal representation in a collective pop-up shop. The name is derived from FRAGRANCE MOVEMENT and picks up on the slang
word for perfume . . . "frag".
This piece is to describe a small sample of the perfumes at FRAGments 2015, from three perfumers among my favorites. I will post more on several others over time.
All of these perfumers have their own websites with in-depth descriptions of the materials they use, their process and inspirations.
These are exciting perfumes that I would love to acquire myself as quickly as my personal luxuries budget allows (considering that in my case the luxury of perfume has morphed into necessity).
Two from PK Perfumes by Paul Kiler have a beautiful spacious and dimensional effect that evokes both the natural and traditional in a contemporary way.
Velvet Curaçao has a dreamy smoothness, and is seductively gentle with an interior warmth and juicy-ness that belies the reputation that fruity florals are always superficially sweet and easy. The lively and fresh citruses are well married into a rich white and luxurious flower family of gardenia, jasmine and orange flower, cooled by a touch of violet air flowing over a base of ambergris, musk and woods. It reaches out beyond mere prettiness into beauty, owning the depth of an incense, restrained within the boundaries of elegance.
It contains Curaçao peel oil, used in Triple Sec and Grand Marnier, which may explain its olfactory reference to a warm and refined intoxication. Notes are listed as Bright Curaçao, Orange Blossom, Neroli, Sweet Orange, Red Mandarin, Bergamot, Petitgrain, Jasmine, Gardenia, Violet, Cassia, Oakmoss, Labdanum, Amber, Ambergris, Ambrette, Velvet Wood, and Velvet Musks.
In contrast, the bracing Café Diem brings the dryness of an astringent black coffee passed over the fumes of a dry and potent liqueur. Again I am connected to the qualities of an exalting Japanese incense, the elegance of finely drawn lines between the notes listed as a blend of coffee, absinthe, whiskey, sweet spices, incense and vetiver.
Olympic Orchids by Ellen Covey's Woodcut transmits the very essence of fresh cut wood, a particular fragrance that I've been looking for, and find it surprising how rare the true spirit of this is found within fine perfume. Notes are listed as fractional distillations of pine and cedar, oakwood absolute, tolu balsam, olibanum, caramel, burnt sugar, vanilla.
I find the cedar predominates, as well as intimations of an old oak. The sweetness of caramel and sugar are far distant but there's enough to keep the searing edge of the aromatic punch of freshly cut wood smooth. To allow for the darker and deeper voices within to be known, and also the wild living quality of the trees themselves. Freshly cut trees exuding that spirit of powerful earthiness crossed with green. A soulful scent.
Two by Wax Poetic by Jeanette Price have a beautiful signature balminess. They hold that air within that immediately makes your mind and body receptive to the grace of relaxation caused by nothing but your own olfactory triggers that release tension.
Mercy is a rainwater soft skin musk that creates an impression of warmth and relief. I have no note list for it, it's not on the website yet but was part of FRAGments, so I expect it will appear on the website soon, so look out for it. If you are as susceptible to aromatic suggestion as I am, this comfort aura of a perfume is a pure elegant blanket that will surround and protect you with the beauty of a calm and lovely gentleness.
Flight, as the name implies, provides uplift, along with that aromatic core of balmy air, rising like a balloon, large enough to carry you away on the soft breeze. A bit of an edge of a dry and astringent floral, but still abstract as all get out.
One of those perfumes that can trigger memories you didn't know you had, of lifting off and lightness suspended in the air. The bright sunshine edge of dawn's refreshing coolness. The notes are listed as marigold, white grapefruit and tomato leaf.
I've come to learn that I have an affinity for tomato leaf, so that may be partly what attracts me so much. It has that vibrant green and lively woodiness it shares with much bigger green leafed specimens of the plant kingdom. Here it grounds the breezes that are tinted by a brush against the plants stirred into movement, releasing aromas.
There were many more fantastically individual and creative perfumes at FRAGments, and I will revisit my stash of samples again here. It's inspiring to see that talented indieperfumers are growing in numbers and variety.
Samples provided by FRAGments organizer Maggie Mahboubian.
FRAGments website is an ongoing project, and I'm looking forward to many more such events. Please visit the sites linked above for more information.
Copyright 2015, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.
Photos above taken from the FRAGments website.