Esscentual Alchemy Part II – by Nava

Still cute after all these years?

Boy, that was a fast weekend, wasn’t it? It’s actually a holiday today here in Canada – Victoria Day – in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday. It’s also a celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s birthday as well. Party on, folks!

As promised, here is part 2 of my Esscentual Alchemy review. On Friday, I wrote about all the fun scents Amanda Feeley sent me samples of, and today, I have the more “grown-up” selections. Well, they’re grown up in my opinion, but they could be something else entirely in someone else’s. That’s the beauty of fragrance; it’s wide open to interpretation. Like my nose, for instance – is it too late for that nose job, or is it part of my charm?

Theo: Black tea, seaweed, frankincense, sandalwood, bay leaf, ylang ylang, zdravets, auracaria, lavender, tangerine, balsam fir, pink grapefruit. Amanda, if you’re reading this, could you please comment on what “zdravets” and “auracaria” are? I meant to ask you, but I totally spaced. Thanks. This scent is named after Theo van Gogh, brother of Vincent. It’s green, zippy and slightly vegetal, but also sweet and a bit dry. The frankincense and sandalwood give it an appropriate bit of mystery, which is why I classify it as a grown-up scent.

Melange: Sandalwood, benzoin, patchouli, tincture of coffee beans, white lotus, clove, ginger lily, litsea cubeba, nutmeg. If anyone else has noticed a pattern here, I seem to be liking scents with natural patchouli, rather than what’s found out there in the department store bilge water. So that’s the secret…pardon me while I enjoy the epiphany. I also love how citrus notes are included in with the heavier notes like coffee and patch. They do a great job of lightening the load and balancing the spices. If you’re a fan of spices in your scents, this is a must try.

Orange Chocolate Rose: Labdanum, ambergris, benzoin, cocoa absolute, gardenia enfleurage, rose, orange flower, ylang ylang, bois de rose, bitter almond and blood orange. Anyone who has seen the Eddie Murphy movie “Coming to America” will know what I mean when I say, “Sexual Chocolate!” Put your hands together for this one because it is an absolute stunner. I have never smelled a chocolate perfume that has as much personality as this one does. Wowza…

Chocolate Hazelnut Twist: Cocoa absolute, hazelnut, rooibos absolute. If you’re thinking “Nutella” stop, immediately. The inclusion of rooibos (an African red tea) gives this scent an herbally, fruity, slightly vanillic quality, which is the “twist” in the composition. It’s not staggeringly sweet, but more like what a Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar would be if it was made from dark instead of milk chocolate. It’s not quite as sexy as Orange Chocolate Rose, but it’s definitely got sass.

Dvora: Pink pepper, tangerine, citron, blood orange, Luminous Hydrosol, Alchemy Gold Hydrosol, rose Maroc, Damask rose, white rose attar, neroli, rose hydrosol, amber accord, Gift Hydrosol. Again, it sounds like there are some proprietary ingredients in here, and I found some of the notes hard to identify. This is a floral with some chypre/aldehyde overtones, which is not normally what I go for, but all you vintage Jezebels out there would likely be thrilled with this one. She may be making scents to order by hand, but Amanda definitely has imparted that vintage quality to Dvora that is rare today, which I believe is a testament to her talent as a perfumer.

Amanda does offer samples of her scents for around $5 each. Again, more than you would pay for samples of mass-produced fragrances, but definitely worth it if you’re a natural perfume aficionado. Visit Esscentual Alchemy online here.


  • annie says:

    OMG…just when I decide to stick with 6/7 frags(easy in summer,but winter is another story)you show us this…AND I LOVE the notes in ALL of them,and my chemistry is picky….I don’t even sniff at the mall,anymore…everything is absolutely ruined,so I’m sampling everything you listed…thanks for the great posts!

  • Monica says:

    hehe , I guess you’re right…some patches pack a punch decidedly…vicious…:-w

  • Rappleyea says:

    Great picture – you’re even more beautiful; don’t change a thing!

    I too love natural patch, and several of these sound like must tries to me. I’ve been meaning to sample more of the botanical/natural lines, so this will be a good place to start.

    Thanks, Nava!

    • Nava says:

      Thanks, R. There are many talented perfumers out there who definitely need to be shown the love. Enjoy your sampling endeavours.

  • Monica says:

    Cute Pic, and once again you found some Esscentual Alchemy Scents I haven’t tried,Dvora and Theo.. cool. I love Amanda’s work. LOVE your patchouli confession…. PEACE-LOVE-AND-PATCHOULI! PLAP!

    • Nava says:

      Monica, there are patch scents out there that are anything but peaceful! :d I am willing to explore the natural side now that I’ve found some that I actually like.

  • waftbycarol says:

    My favorite Esscentual Alchemy scent is Lumberjack Man…she quotes my review at her Artfire Shop…
    Lumberjack Man Notes: Tobacco, Labdanum, Agarwood, Ylang ylang, Ginger, Lime, Wormwood, Saffron, Black Pepper, Rosewood

  • Francesca says:

    Loved the reviews and that sweet picture of you!

  • It doesn’t look like it has been that many years! Great pic!

  • Ms. Christian beat me to the zdravetz…I think it’s so cool that it’s a geranium varietal :D

    Araucaria, was misspelled…sorry about that. This is a rose-woody, spicy middle note. Araucaria has good fixative properties and will not overwhelm perfumes with light floral middle notes.

    The hydrosols are courtesy of Dabney Rose, whom does marvelous work!!! And the amber accord was of my own making with essential oils.

    My cold is mostly gone, and this is such a lovely way to end my night, and to go to sweet dreams with your kind words dancing in my head.

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful reviews, Nava!


  • Ann says:

    Hi Nava! Great pic — you are absolutely adorable! Thanks for the round-up of these scents; they all sound quite lovely, and being a tea person, several sound especially nice.

  • (Ms.) Christian says:


    The plant Geranium macrorrhizum is a small, but very hardy perennial which grows wild on rocky soil at high and medium altitudes. The oil is distilled in Bulgaria and the name ‘zdrave’ means ‘health’, the plant is used extensively in thses areas as a popular medicinal herb.

    Zdravetz oil is a pale olive-green or pale-yellowish, somewhat viscous liquid from which considerable amount of large white crystals will separate on standing and on cooling.

    This oil is an excellent fixative in perfumery. The odor is sweet-woody, whit a floral and faintly herbaceous under tone, reminiscent of Clary sage, Tobacco, Broom Absolute.

    The floral notes are of a rosy-woody character, delicate and tenacious. The odor does not strike one with power, but the effect of Zdravets in a perfume is often perceptible at concentrations around one percent.

    Blends excellently with: oakmoss, labdanum, oilbanum, sandalwood, clary sage, lavender, bergamot, etc.

    • Francesca says:

      Interesting! Thanks.

    • Nava says:

      OK, Ms. Christian, you are now my official “go to” for all things botanical. 🙂

      • (Ms.) Christian says:

        Um, well, I’m a certified aromatherapist and I own Zdravets e.o. I also don’t know everything but you are always welcome to ask, Nava.