It´s only fitting that two weeks after begrudgingly parting with my gas-hogging, decidedly environmentally unfriendly SUV, I discovered a really intriguing line of organic fragrances. I must say, this discovery has somehow softened the blow of once again being behind the wheel of a Toyota Corolla – which also happened to be my very first car 18 years ago. Not that a Corolla is an embarrassment on 4 wheels; Toyota has definitely come a long way since the days of their “Punch it, Margaret!” commercials. Oh, if only I could get back about 10 of those 18 years… Alas, there is currently not a fragrance on the market capable of accomplishing that task. If there is, I´m hoping someone will tell me.
I´ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the idea of “organic” for a long time. I´m all for living as chemically-free as possible and leaving as small a carbon footprint as my size 10 feet will allow, but it isn´t always easy. Purchasing organic produce and groceries is a noble but expensive undertaking, as is using organic personal care products and fragrances. It seems ironic that the less you get, the more you have to spend, be it for pesticide-free, non-genetically modified fruits and vegetables, hormone and antibiotic-free meats or paraben-free, naturally based skin care products. And don´t even get me started about high fructose corn syrup.
Organic perfumery has been a controversial subject, mainly because of some ridiculously expensive price points, and the argument that a perfume cannot be completely natural due to the irritant potential of some of the most commonly used natural materials. I´m not going to go down that road either.
Acorelle fragrances carry the “EcoCert” and “CosmeBio” labels, certifying that they are comprised of natural and organic ingredients. Of their 100% natural ingredients, 92% are certified organic. They do not contain chemical fixatives, colorants or something called “nitrated musk”. Instead, wheat alcohol, organic corn flower water, essential oils and other raw materials are what make up these scents. They are divided into three aromatherapeutic categories: Dynamysing (stimulating, invigorating, anti-fatigue), Balancing (revitalizing, harmonizing, comforting), and Soothing (anti-stress, relaxant, soothing). Each category has three corresponding fragrances; following are the ones I tried:
Amande de Blé (Wheat Almond): this one is the revitalizing scent from the Balancing category. Notes of almond, ylang ylang, mimosa, apricot and essential oils of shiu wood and palmarosa make this scent smell for all the world like a hunk of marzipan candy, but in a way that is not tooth-achingly sweet. For me, it is more of a comforting scent because it makes me think of those marzipan candy fruits I loved as a child; so much so that my mother would routinely hide them from me. Of course I always managed to find them.
Lotus Bambou (Bamboo Lotus): From the Soothing category, this is the relaxing scent of bergamot and mandarin, along with spearmint, tarragon and patchouli essential oils. It manages to be soothing and refreshing at the same time, and is a perfect warm weather scent. You definitely get a bit of a bite from the spearmint and tarragon, but not in a mentholated chewing gum sense, and the patchouli is there in the background to warm things up ever so slightly.
Baies Sauvages (Wild Berries): From the Dynamysing category, this is the invigorating fragrance of wild berries, roses and violets, with essential oils of geranium, cardamom and sandalwood. The rose note is definitely not lost among the berries and the cardamom adds a gentle spiciness that you typically do not find in fruity fragrances. The sandalwood is clean and warm in the drydown, making this another perfect scent for warm weather wear.
There are 3 more scents currently available, Jardin des Thés (Tea Garden), Orchidée Blanche (White Orchid), and Verveine Agrume (Citrus Verbena), to be followed at the end of the year by Vanille Ambrée (Vanilla Amber), R de Rose, and Terre de Cà¨dre (Land of Cedar).
Acorelle is brought to us here in the U.S. by Susan Anapol, one of the first North American distributors of Comptoir Sud Pacifique in the early 90s. I had the pleasure of meeting Susan for the first time in New York last year, and realized that she was the one filling my orders for Comptoir fragrances back when my vanilla obsession was in its infancy. I saw her again at Art with Flowers in Tysons Corner last Sunday, where she introduced Acorelle to the Metro DC area perfumistas, along with the promise of more exciting fragrance lines to come.
Acorelle scents are priced at a very wallet-friendly $68.00 US for 50 ml. You can find them at Art with Flowers, and on Susan´s new website, www.lushoasis.com.