FINALLY – Nava sits down and actually reviews a couple of fragrances; about bloody time, right?
For your olfactory pleasure, I have another talented Canadian natural perfumer I must introduce you all to: Jessica September Buchanan of 1000 Flowers.
Jessica is currently located in the “wilderness” of Western Canada, otherwise known as British Columbia, where lately, if you’re not careful, you might make the acquaintance of a bear while cruising through the drive-thru at Tim Hortons. Yes, bears; I’m not referring to Hugh “The Bear” from “Ice Road Truckers”.
Jessica’s background in essential oils and clinical aromatherapy lead her to France, where she studied at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery. After graduating and interning at two well-known perfume houses, Jessica set up her own shop and has introduced two very impressive scents, which I’ve had samples of since late July. I’ve been waiting for my nose to recover from my medication “mishap”, and now I can tell all of you that the schnoz is back in top form and rarin’ to go.
Réglisse Noir (Black Licorice): For many, licorice scents are a tough sell because I don’t think a lot of us want to spend our days smelling like a bag of Nibs. There are, however, some artful licorice scents out there: Hermessence Brin de Reglisse, an amalgamation of black licorice and lavender, and Eau de Reglisse by Caron. There was a scent by the cosmetics company Hard Candy available about 10 years ago that was heavy on the black licorice, but alas, it now resides on the island of discontinued scents.
Jessica’s Réglisse Noir is the most complex black licorice scent I’ve ever smelled; it is comprised of white pepper, ozone, mint, shiso leaf, star anise, ginger, licorice, cocoa, patchouli, vanilla, vetiver and musk. It is spicy, warm and slightly masculine; the patchouli and vetiver in the drydown keep it from becoming cloying, and the star anise and ginger in the middle give it a nice tang. This is not a foody scent, but one that you’ll want to snuggle into like a favorite blanket on a chilly night. I’m glad I held off on road-testing it until the weather cooled off a bit; this is definitely a cool-weather comfort scent if ever there was one.
Fleur N°1: OK, all my vintage Jezebels out there (you know who you are) – listen up: You HAVE to try this one. I’m no expert by any stretch, but this scent is proof that Jessica aced her classes at the Grasse Institute. This masterpiece screams ladylike; think Parisian ladies who lunch, Jackie O and Elizabeth Taylor artfully combined and dabbed on the pulse points. The notes are narcissus, orris root, white magnolia, hyacinth, moss, the forest in Spring, new baby leaves, wild violets in the sunshine, melting snow and cool wet earth. My skin pulls out a lot of moss, cool wet earth and the fruity-duskiness of orris and magnolia. I’ll admit that I feel a bit like a cross between Dame Edna and Queen Elizabeth in this one; I’m not one for ladylike floral, but it is breathtaking. To my nose, it is reminiscent of Creed Spring Flower; another scent I appreciate, but would never wear. If I go back far enough in my olfactory memory bank, I can almost smell the Emeraude coming out of my mother’s closet.
I have to say, the realm of social media has given me a greater appreciation of the talent of perfumers like Jessica. The materials they work with and the artful compositions they create are just a joy to behold. They ply their trade without the benefit of glossy ad campaigns and behemoth cosmetic companies investing millions in product development. These scents are a labor of love, and it shows. Just one sniff is all it takes to get hooked. I’ve willingly been dragged off…
Right now, you can snag 15 ml of Réglisse Noir on Jessica’s Web site for $23.00. It’s regularly $45. Fleur N°1 is also on sale for $41.25 for 15 ml. Yes, they are a bit more expensive than traditional fragrances; they are made with natural and organic materials. And well worth it, I might add.