Hey, everyone! Here are a few thoughts on a couple of fragrances I tried recently – figured I’d keep it brief(ish) since I know those of us in the US are heading into the holiday weekend. You may already be doing prep work, whether for traveling or cooking the meal – or both.
A friend gave me a bag full of fragrance samples she’d just gotten in an order from Credo, which is a purveyor of “clean” beauty products – sustainable, nontoxic, zero waste, plucked from the green, dewy earth by eco-friendly fairies at dawn, etc. I had no idea what to expect; I’d only heard of a couple of the fragrance brands and as far as I could recall I hadn’t tried any of them. I was hoping if I ran through the whole bag of 8 – 10 I’d find one or two of them interesting. The first two I randomly picked out managed to grab my attention, though, and warranted further test drives, so here we are.
Queens & Monsters by Henry Rose – I thought I remembered this company was started by a gorgeous actor/celeb (and I think named for her son) – it’s actually Michelle Pfeiffer, not Julianne Moore, but I was close. You can read their prose about toxicity, environmental and social responsibility etc. here. In Queens & Monsters “the freshness and zest of petitgrain balances the fluid sensuality of sandalwood to create a woody aroma.” Notes: Violet Leaf, Neroli, Petitgrain, Freesia, Jasmine, Vanilla, Coco Musk, Sandalwood. Perfumer: Pascal Gaurin. 50ml/$120 USD, 8ml travel spray $35.
Look, bear with me on this one, which smells deeply weird and fabulous and comforting all at the same time. There’s not a ton of development; it smells pretty much like the listed notes, in that order. But I have this crazy scent-association with familiar scents from my past, so: to me, the top smells like neroli overlaid with Icy Hot’s wintergreen / menthol, then florals (freesia?) along with a splash of sassafras from my childhood* with its lemon-root-beer smell, and then that drops out and we’re left with minty green sandalwood. It lasts all day on my skin.
I think objectively that sounds … not very appealing, and yet it is. It is wildly appealing. I don’t think I need 50ml of this (I don’t think I “need” 50ml of anything, frankly) but I’m contemplating that 8ml travel spray because I’ve worn it several times and enjoyed it so much, and now my little spray sample is almost gone. I also think I should try some others from their line.
Vanilla Nomad by Sana Jardin – inspired by the founder’s “travels through the North African desert, where vanilla incense was burned as an evening ritual … notes of jasmine absolute and soft sandalwood, grounded by a warm, earthy base of vetiver and patchouli.” 50ml/$145 USD, 10ml $30.
This is vanilla in a decidedly non-gourmand direction, a “dry” vanilla with plenty of jasmine and that woody, dusty base. It’s not anywhere as interesting as the first one but it’s quite pleasant. It reminds me vaguely of Annick Goutal’s Vanille Exquise and that warm amber-benzoin, only a lot less perfume-y and complex if that makes sense – more a “good smell” kind of perfumery. Is it shatteringly original? No, but I’m always happy to meet a vanilla scent that doesn’t smell like it came from a bakery with icing on top. Decent longevity, too. The names can get my eyes twitching a bit (Nubian Musk, anyone?) but the nose is Carlos Benaim, so … that’s a plus.
Note that both of these (and probably others) have travel sizes available which I support, per Cinnamon’s post yesterday I’m not buying much in the way of full bottles any more.
Have you tried any of these two lines?
- Is sassafras an American thing? It’s a woody understory plant here, so familiar from my childhood summer camp days, in sassafras tea and hard candy? It’s kind of simultaneously vanillic, anise / root beer, and lemon, and I think it’s wonderful.