Acorelle Organic Eaux de Parfum

amande-de-ble_small_230x200_230x0

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.

 

Image: lushoasis.com

25 Comments

  1. Oh, I dunno. These might be perfectly fine and the intentions behind them noble, but it just seems to me that unless a fragrance exceptional in and of itself it damages the planet in a psychic way, not to mention the fact that an awful lot of energy went into the creation of yet another mediocre product that we simply do not need. Perfume is art, and art is worth it.

  2. Seconding Carter here. As Dr. Avery Gilbert states in What the Nose Knows, in certain cases, the production of natural essences can be much more energy-greedy than synthetic ones — and sometimes deplete endangered resources, as in the case of rosewood.

    As for aromatherapeutic claims: while aromatherapy *does* work, it is by cultural association rather than by the intrinsic pharmaceutical quality of the plants (when they are inhaled: of course plants have active properties when ingested). You’re told lavender is relaxing while undergoing a soothing massage, you relax, and presto, the association lavender= relaxing is created.

    And, yes, “natural” can be an irritant/allergen: think nettle, many pollens and, unfortunately for perfume-lovers, oak moss.

    Organic fragrances are a marketing conceit or an act of faith in a set of beliefs (again, not talking about food ingested: I’m glad Europe bans hormone-fattened US meat, for instance). I don’t think they could possibly change except in the most marginal way the quantity of harmful substances we’re exposed to.

    So, as Carter said, we’re left with the aesthetic effect: is it beautiful? Worth the money and skin time? If it is, then I’d buy it, but not because it was organic.

    • Carmencanada: As a practicing aromatherapist and licensed massage therapist, I have to respond to your statement. Inhalation is much more than “cultural association” as the nose is the only opening directly to the brain. Inhalation also draws the volatile fumes directly into the lungs. I can very effectively treat bronchitis, chest colds or asthma with inhalations of essential oils. And I don’t think people die from inhaling carbon monoxide due to “cultural association”.

      Also, the molecular structure of essential oils is small enough that they are easily absorbed into the skin, thus directly entering the bloodstream. I could go on and on about their therapeutic effect, but this isn’t the forum for it. As an example though, I will say that if you are ever bitten by a poisonous spider, you’d want to immediately put tea tree oil on it, and lavender will heal a burn almost miraculously.

      You are a French speaker, I would recommend the book by the French physician, Dr. Jean Valnet, The Practice of Aromatherapy. He documents years of study of the pharmaceutical properties of essential oils.

      That said, I agree with Fiordiligi regarding perfume – I too am a lover of the old Guerlains and classic French perfumes.

      • I’m sorry, Rappleyea, I should’ve been clearer (and shouldn’t post before my third coffee). I should’ve written “smelled” rather than “inhaled”. Obviously, plants have active principles, some of which have pharmacological effects.

        But I very much doubt the concentrations present in fragrances can have the least therapeutic effect, except as a placebo. And, thus, by cultural association. But placebos work, so why not?

        I’m just bugged by that type of claim from a fragrance company.

        • Ah yes, I do understand your point there. Processing and handling of the oils used in perfumery would also contribute to their lack of any real therapeutic efficacy. I think you said it, the operative word is “claim”. And it does bother me as an aromatherapist as many people confuse this with real aromatherapy.

          Thanks for responding.

    • I am simply of a mind (a simple mind?) that we have too much STUFF, which comes in too many containers, which find their way to too many landfills. It takes energy to produce these things, it takes energy to transport them, to market them. We then buy them (requiring more energy consumption, unless one happens to live above the shop) and eventually discard them, at which point a whole new process requiring energy begins, until they find their way to a trash barge endlessly trolling the waterways looking for a place to call home. Before you know it you’re walking on a beach somewhere with trash strewn in every direction.

      I have no agenda with this particular company — I’m sure they make lovely things, and I’m grateful to Nava for taking the time and care to write about them for us, but I’m beginning to believe that if everyone would take all of these factors into consideration before creating — and purchasing — even one more thing of any kind, we’d all be a whole lot better off in the long run.

  3. How interesting. I’ve been vegetarian for over 30 years but don’t actively seek out organic scents despite my preference for organic foods, hair products etc.

    If they were beautiful, I’d buy them, of course, but I’m the perverse sort of vegetarian whose true perfume loves are the old Guerlains chock-full of animal ingredients!

    Thank you for the reviews, nevertheless.

  4. Hi Nava, we met on Sunday. I had the same impression of the Amande de Ble, marzipan. I wouldn’t have minded getting a whiff of the mimosa. Susan described the Verveine Agrume, as something you would be able to wear whilst working out. It is, indeed, quite light, lovey & lemony, a skinscent. My body would eat this up, just walking out the door. But if a person wants a scent for Pilates & Yoga, this would be perfect. Baies Sauvages, for some reason, reminded me of Old Spice, initially. Testing from my sample, now, there is still that Old Spice memory in the drydown. They are very pleasant scents, especially for people who want something very light, but if your body tends to “eat up” a fragrance, they won’t have much longevity, I’m afraid.

    • Hi Kathleen,

      I agree that these scents are very light, but it’s interesting how the ones with nut and spice notes have a bit more staying power than those that are made up mostly of citrus/flowers.

      Acorelle’s staying power is similar to that of most citrus based scents (like an old fave of mine – Goutal Eau de Hadrien). In my experience, the one and only citrus scent that has the capability of hanging on the skin for days is Kiehl’s Grapefruit perfume oil. You need an atomic blast to get rid of that one. 😀

  5. I confess that this sort of more-organic-than-thou advertising thing – whether it’s for perfume, or cosmetics, or what have you – makes me turn around and march smartly the other way.

    I dry my laundry on a clothesline whenever possible. I grow my own vegetables; I don’t bother with drycleaning; I hardly ever fly. I combine errands into as few trips as possible; I don’t buy small portions of anything in extra packaging; I never, never, ever fertilize my lawn. (You want to talk pollution, let’s look at what “lawncare” in NoVa does to the Chesapeake Bay.)

    But this is ludicrous, in my opinion. If it makes you happy to buy organic perfume, go ahead. I won’t be jeering at your efforts – I just won’t be joining you.

  6. And now that I’ve got down off my high horse (sorry) – thanks, Nava, for the reviews! And these are relatively inexpensive for naturals.

    • You’re welcome. 🙂

      I tried not to climb all the way up on my high horse, because that’s not the issue here. But I will say that the whole “EcoChic” trend is just another in a long line of marketing ploys, like “celebu-scents”.

      Having shopped at the popular New York area discount clothing chain, Syms, I will borrow their advertising tag line: “An educated consumer is our best customer.” I think that applies to more than just clothing.

  7. Strong opinions here! First, thank you Nava for opening the door to an interesting topic. I tend to shy away from the natural lines because of a nasty allergic-asthma attack-inducing reaction that I had to one scent a couple of years ago. I have no idea what I am/was allergic to that was featured in that scent. That was the first serious asthma attack of my life and it was scary.

    That said, I carefully tested the Acorelles at the Art with Flowers event, inhaler at the ready. No allergic reaction, no closed airway. What I did find was a line of fragrances much like any other. Some interested me and some did not. I surprised myself by liking and purchasing the Baies Sauvages. On me, it played out as a warm, slightly spicy rose with soft, sweet berry tones and a warm drydown. Good price, nice for summer.

    My only gripe is that it doesn’t have lasting power on my skin, but I could smell it on my blouse the next day. Again, a not uncommon gripe that I have with many fragrances. So, to throw my not-so-very-strong opinion in the hat, if you like naturals, buy them, but buyer beware. My earlier experience with a natural was an eye-opener. If environmental or animal rights concerns are important, research your fragrances, both natural and synthetic.

    • You’re welcome, Melissa. 🙂

      I, too have had strong reactions to a couple of natural/organic perfume lines, but nothing as horrific as yours. Generally, I get a case of the itchies when something doesn’t agree with me. But, I agree; research is key to make sure that these types of products are a good fit for you, for many reasons.

  8. These sound lovely! The Amande de Ble sounds like something I’d love for a summer comfort scent. Wish there were samples! Ummm…TPC enablers? Are you listening?

  9. Hey Nava, it was wonderful finally meeting you in person @ AWF! I agree that the Acorelles are pretty, but a couple sniffs off the strip confirmed for me that they would be fleeting in longevity. I was definitely more interested in Oudh from CSP (I know, “CSP has an oudh now, WTF???”) that Susan had. Re-visiting it later confirmed that it was less deep than most of my other ouds, which means it would be great for summer or working out. Well, on me, that is. 😉

    • It was wonderful to meet you too, K.

      That CSP Oudh was very nice; I don’t have a lot of experience with Oud scents from other lines, but I could definitely see myself wearing this one, albeit in cooler weather. But you’ve got some rockin’ chemistry, girl! 🙂

  10. LOL! I guess I was hungry while I was surfing the Lush Oasis site. I thought I saw Acorelle Bay SAUSAGES instead of Baies Sauvages. 😀

    • LOL! The mind/stomach have an interesting connection and sense of humor, eh? 🙂

  11. Hi Nava-

    Thanks for a review of a line I might have otherwise overlooked. With me, it’s always the longevity issue with the organics-that and an occasional skin reaction. My asthma reactions seem indifferent to the organicity of the perfume-I’m an equal opportunity wheezer 😉

    The almondy one especially appeals-I love my marzipan. Also kudos to Bill and Jose for introducing new, lesser know perfumes into the lovely Art with Flowers.

    Happy Weekend!

    • I wish I knew what it would take to improve the longevity. I was shaking my head yesterday when my liberal application of Dior Escale a Portofino up and left about 2 hours after I doused myself in it. No wonder it’s sold in a 4 oz. bottle!

      You should definitely check out Amande de Ble. 🙂

  12. Thanks for lovely review, Nava.

    I read up on the fragrance line before going to Art With Flowers (more time to graze on shrimp cocktail) and had my eye–er nose–on the Lotus Blossom. I think I am anosmic to something in it. Not just fleeting, you see, but non existent. Later Himself said he could smell it a little. I so wanted to love this one. I must test again as the line is nice and affordable.

    • I definitely smelled the Lotus scent on you, Kate, but I’m anosmic to certain scents myself. Egyptian musk is totally non-existent in my world. 🙁

      • Hello there! I’m the OTHER Cathleen that was at Art with Flowers. I thought the Tea scent was kind of nice, and I got a sample of the Lotus scent that I like very well, but I’m curious about the list of ingredients: linalool, citral, D-limonene, geraniol, farnesol……it sounds like a chemical soup! Anyway, not very organic. Am I missing something?

Comments are closed.