Phoenix Botanicals: American Perfumer Interviews

Hi there Posse. Recently I introduced you all to a new business called American Perfumer. The name says it all. Independent Artisan  American Perfumers being put on display so you can find a large selection of them in one spot. Genius! From that initial post I was inspired to meet some of the people behind the perfume brands that are for sale at American Perfumer. They all get the same 10 questions so we can see how they differ and how they are similar. After I will give you a quick review of one or two of their perfumes. Today let’s meet Irina Adam from Phoenix Botanicals.

Phoenix Botanicals: American Perfumer Interviews

What do you recall of your families fragrances as you grew up?

Nobody in my family wore perfume. My mom had no sense of smell! But there was a cabinet full of dusty perfumes, powders and lipsticks that had belonged to my grandmother. I’d try on everything in the mirror while my grandma would take naps. I didnt realize until many years later that everything in the cabinet belonged to my other grandma, who passed on before I was born! They were probably there since the war. In 2014 I found some vintage perfume materials from the ’20s-40’s including hyacinth and vetiver, they smelled just like that cabinet. I blended them in a small batch perfume, Ella.

Where is your dream vacation spot?

I’d love to visit Burkina Faso. I’ve only been to Africa in my dreams.

How do you like to start your day?

Excellent coffee, writing down my dreams and gratitude list, chi gong or meditation on the roof.

Tell us about your life, family, business or career before perfume?

I had a typical multi tasking NY life. I was working in ethnobotany research at the NY Botanical Garden, editing and co-writing books about indigenous plant uses. At the time I was also working at Flower Power Herbs, where I started making plant infused balms and potions for the shop. And I was photographing a lot and exhibiting at places like the NY Open Center.

How did you find yourself in perfumery?

After training in herbal medicine, I started making my own herbal balms and potions and was obsessed with making them smell as much like the fresh plant as possible. I’d started a tiny online shop for my balms and one day I listed my first perfume called Rose Supreme. It sold out right away, without anyone even smelling it, then the reviews came in with so much enthusiasm. This encouraged me to buy more essential oils, make more perfumes and express myself in this creative medium!

What is your favourite perfume note and why?

Tuberose absolute is one of my favorites. It never stops surprising and seducing, and I’ve a hard time staying away from it in every blend. I find it great for bridging wild and luxurious elements within a perfume. Or, being the seductive puzzle piece that makes something experimental more wearable.

How did you decide on your companies name, what is its relevance?

I found Phoenix appropriate because of my focus on connecting myself and others to nature. The Phoenix rises from the ashes, and that’s how I feel after spending a day in nature. It was also named after a rescue cockatiel, Phoenix who happened to look just like a Phoenix.

What was the last novel or biography you read (current if appropriate)?

Well I found myself re reading ‘Of Water and Spirit’ by Malidoma Some. But when I first read this question, so many songs came to mind. I find songs to be my favorite way to take in stories lately. After seeing Nick Cave in concert last week, been listening to his songs the most.

Hypothetically: If you had to pick a Signature Perfume that you didn’t create, what and why?

I remember smelling Epic Gardenia by Strange Invisible a couple times and thinking, is this real? It’s too good to be true!! So I’d wear that.

Who are your fragrant heroes?

Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfume and the Aftel Archive of Curious Scent!
and Saskia Wilson-Brown founder of the Institute of Art & Olfaction, and the Art & Olfaction Awards.

Thanks Irina for letting us see a little into your head and heart.

You can buy Phoenix Botanicals at American Perfumer

Saffron Veil by Phoenix Botanicals

Green herbs, lightly salted fresh new growth. A sheer, clear saffron over soft and gentle wafts of luxurious white flowers. More a wash of fragrance than a hefty perfume Saffron Veil heads towards a skin-ish waft of resins and wood.

Vanilla and the Sea by Phoenix Botanicals

Choc orange opens Vanilla and the Sea. The heart is summer on the sand dunes. Warm and sweaty you can’t wait to plunge into the cooling sea. You can feel the heat radiating from this fragrance. An excellent reminder of summer through the long cold winter done with amber and ambergris.


Portia also writes for Australian Perfume Junkies

  • Kate E. says:

    I’m really enjoying this series and your reviews at the end are stacking up on my “must try” list! Keep ’em coming!!!

  • Fabulous! I love this series. Looking forward to the Australian Perfumers series too (hehehehe). Thanks Portia

  • rprichpot says:

    I just placed my second order with American Perfumer (Olympic Orchid’s Blackbird and Woodcut). Thanks for introducing them to us. Happy Holidays!

  • Brigitte says:

    Wow, P, thanks for introducing me to another fantastic perfumer who hails from my state! Love that her fragrances are all natural!

    Hope you will include Diane St Clair of St Clair Scents into this series at some point 🙂

    I am really enjoying these American Perfumer Interview posts! Keep ’em coming!

    • Portia says:

      Hi Brigitte,
      I am not choosing the perfumers. They come to me through American Perfumer. Hopefully your friend is on their books and does the Q&A.
      So glad you’re enjoying the series.
      Portia xx