Anya’s Garden Kaffir

By Tom

Anya McCoy is one of those people who makes scents I consider my armor.  When I go into someplace and sniff the sad remains of a former favorite scent I can just walk away, rueful but sure in the knowledge that people like Anya are carrying the torch, away from the vicissitudes of bean counter, idiotic new “guidelines” or focus groups.

Kaffir would have been killed in committee before it could have gotten within 100 miles of your local Sephora, and that would have been a tragedy.  Anya balances a lime leaf and tarragon opening, a jasmine and wood middle, and a leathery, musky base that works in several different ways.  It’s playful in the way it flirts with Thai food, with the lime leaves’ winking Pad Thai echoes.  It’s also slightly retro in the middle with hints at old-school Gentleman’s Scents when the jasmine joins the party.  Finally it’s its own, wonderfully sexy self with the delightfully vegetal musk and leather.  I want to try the perfume strength one.

Ladies, if you are the sort of gal that wears Derby or Bandit, this slashingly, heartlessly chic little number should be on your radar.

Note: They are having a 25% off sale through Valentine’s Day.

Kaffir is available at Anya’s Garden website, $60 for 3.5ML of perfume or $100 for 15ML of EdP.  My sample was from her mini sampler set, $7 for the sample.  Image from Anya’s Garden website.

  • Flora says:

    Tom, I love Kaffir; like Teri I am all about the lime when it comes to citrus, and it’s really nice to find a lime scent that does not have all those cliched “masculine” notes attached to it. It’s really great for that kind of hot weather when you just can’t bear the idea of any other kind of perfume.

  • maidenbliss says:

    This might be interesting, especially with your nod to Derby. Which is lovely.

    • Musette says:

      I :x Derby

      xo >-)

      • maidenbliss says:

        The only lime worthy of my poor attention span at this point, with temps going below
        0 tonight, would be paired w tequila, salt of the wrist and a Bogart movie. And that’s pushing
        it. I wouldn’t drink tequila if I was on a deserted island with no water and just the bottle.
        Well…maybe. Where the hell is spring?

  • karin says:

    I “won” a bottle of Kaffir through NST a couple of years ago. It’s a strange one. To me, it smells like a really strong bar of Ivory soap. Compelling in its familiarity, but not something I enjoy wearing. I really need to pull it out and try it again, though. Thanks for the review, Tom!

  • jen says:

    Wierd name for a perfume: several meanings including infidel and in S. Africa, a bad term for a black person.

  • Kate says:

    I just received my sample set the other day and, coincidentally, was trying Kaffir this morning when I read this post! Sadly for me, I’m not getting any lime here at all but I do get lots of bitter greens (not a bad thing since I love greens). It reminds me of something, some product I have used, perhaps, but I have no idea what.

    Yesterday I fell in love with my sample of Pan, but am wondering whether the EDP is very different from the extrait in my sample. If anybody has tried both I’d love to know how similar they are in terms of scent, lasting power, sillage, etc. I could bathe in this stuff!!

    Thanks for the timely review! :)

    • Tom says:

      I’m sorry I was unclear, it’s more lime elaves than lime so that green earthiness you’re enjoying is just right!

      • Kate says:

        Ah, I reread your review and realized that I totally missed that part. My fault, not yours! :) Love the green earthiness!!

  • Teri says:

    Well this certainly makes MY radar blip. lol

    I love lime and always have. As a child I’d dive on the green Lifesaver or Chuckle while everyone else grabbed for the orange or cherry. I also love tarragon in cooking – the spice, the vinegar. And jasmine is my fav soliflore. So I was already intrigued. But when you mentioned that hint of Pad Thai, I was sold.

    I’ve steered away from natural perfumes largely because they lack lasting power and my skin is a perfume eater anyway. But I’ll certainly seek this out and give it a try.

    Thanks, Tom :)

  • Ann says:

    Hi Tom, thanks for the review and putting this on our radar. Will definitely have to explore.

  • Masha says:

    Anya is a very impressive person, and is one the founders of the natural perfume wave. And of course, she’s a Floridian, which makes her extremely cool (I’m one, too, heh heh). But seriously, the tropical gardens of Florida are incredible muses for artists of all kinds, particularly the olfactory variety.

    • Tom says:


      She is certainly inspired!

    • Aparatchick says:

      Masha, Floridians rock! [another one here ;-) ] It’s true about the gardens here – every time I walk through Leu Gardens or Fairchild, I’m reminded of all the amazing variety of scents.

  • Darryl says:

    “Heartlessly chic” is my new favorite perfume descriptor. This sounds right up my alley, thanks for the review!

  • nozknoz says:

    Thanks for this review, Tom! I like to explore and support small, defiant perfume companies, but am never sure what to try, so this is very helpful.