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.