Author Archives: Jessica

Lvnea Fern and Moss, Violet Woods, Frost Flowers & Tasseomancy ~ fragrance reviews

Every day I see more perfume-related promotions than I can possibly process, from social media posts to press release emails to advertisements in subway cars. Despite, or maybe because of, all this saturation, word-of-mouth remains a potent force. When a neighborhood acquaintance and fellow fragophile recommended Lvnea, even pulling a small box of sample vials out of her bag to show me, I made a mental note to check out this small indie brand.

Lvnea (pronounced “lou-nay-uh”) is based in Montréal and its owner, April Lea, studied perfumery with Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Company. Like Providence Perfume, Lvnea specializes in natural fragrances. However, Lvnea’s aesthetic is quite distinctive: dark, moody, with touches of the Gothic and the occult. (Right up my alley, in other words…)

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Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Eau Cerise, Figue Interdite & Bakul Medjool ~ fragrance reviews

Touching the forbidden is always alluring as well; fascinating and wonderfully naughty. I like this. As I began to research what exactly is meant by forbidden fruits I was surprised and delighted to find out that there are many fruits on the list for various reasons…

So says Dawn Spencer Hurwitz in reference to her latest release, the initial trio in a new series called Les Fruits Défendus (Forbidden Fruits), three all-natural perfumes inspired by the cherry, the fig, and the date. Late summer feels like the perfect moment for these scents. My husband and I grow cherries and figs in our small urban garden, so I’m very tuned-in to their seasonal growth and sensory appeal these days. (We also like to buy dates at local Middle Eastern groceries.)

While I’ve been enjoying all three of these Forbidden Fruits, Eau Cerise is my favorite…

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Nest Cocoa Woods ~ fragrance review

Reading the press announcement for Nest Cocoa Woods, I had one of those “time flies” moments. Cocoa Woods has been released to coincide with founder Laura Slatkin’s 25 year-anniversary in the fragrance industry and the 10-year anniversary of the Nest fragrance line. Yes indeed: Slatkin and her husband Harry launched Slatkin & Co. home fragrances in the early 90s, and Nest’s candles and other home and body items made their debut in 2008. I just can’t believe it’s been that long!

Nest’s “fine fragrance” collection started up in 2012 and currently includes twelve scents, by my count. Cocoa Woods, the newest addition, is described as a “woody-gourmand scent” with notes of cocoa, sequoia wood, white sandalwood, tiaré blossom and ginger. Like the rest of the line, it has a beautiful bottle with decoration inspired by eighteenth-century floral illustration and découpage. And it’s really the packaging that keeps me coming back to this line, because I’m still looking for a Nest fragrance to love…

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Aroma M Geisha Botan ~ fragrance review

Just imagine: enchanting peonies, transformed into invisible irezumi to beautify the skin and its surroundings.

This is the introductory line in the press release for Geisha Botan, the newest fragrance from independent perfume house Aroma M.1 This scent is an homage to the peony (“botan” in Japanese) and its cultural significance in Japan and China, where the peony is an auspicious motif and has appeared for centuries in art forms from porcelain and tapestry to printmaking and, yes, traditional tattoos.

The mention of irezumi (tattoos) and these other visual arts is telling, because Botan is much more an artistic interpretation of the peony’s color and texture than a literal recreation of its scent…

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Frederic Malle Outrageous ~ fragrance review, with a quick poll

I occasionally have a week when I just can’t keep up mentally with all the new fragrance releases, or I’m running short on time and haven’t ordered any samples or visited any stores lately. This was one of those weeks. However, I did share a much-needed coffee catch-up with an old friend, and she surprised me by handing me a little bag of Frédéric Malle samples that she said she longer needed (!). This serendipitous gift seemed like an opportunity for my next review topic, especially when I realized that a few fragrances in the range are still relative strangers to me.

Spritzing on some Outrageous, described as “a cocktail of clean sex appeal” with notes of bergamot, tangerine, green apple, cinnamon, musk and ambroxan, I realized that I’ve never really spent time with this scent before. It was developed for Malle’s Editions des Parfums by perfumer Sophia Grojsman and was originally released in 2007 as an exclusive to Barneys Co-Op, the younger, edgier spin-off of upscale department store Barneys New York. It was then called Outrageous! (with exclamation point, shown above left) and had special, snazzy blue-and-orange packaging…

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5 Roses for June ~ body products review

Although I’ve garnered something of a reputation as a rose-lover over the past decade, I don’t review rose fragrances exclusively — in fact, my last rose perfume review was Sana Jardin Tiger by Her Side (November 2017) and my last rose body product review was even further back (September 2017). Since June is the month of roses, it seems like an appropriate time to update this situation! Here are a few rose-fragranced body products that I’ve recently tried.

I need to thank one of you (thanks, Creosote!) for recommending Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Soothing Body Lotion to me. Its consistency is just right: almost thick enough to qualify as a cream, but lightweight enough to spread and absorb without any waiting time…

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Proenza Schouler Arizona ~ fragrance review

Proenza Schouler recently launched its debut fragrance, Arizona, a “radiant” scent that conjures “feelings of liberation to find a greater truth. . . a respect and love of nature, and a sense of unbridled freedom.” Arizona was developed by perfumers Loc Dong and Carlos Benaïm and includes notes of white cactus flower, orange flower, orris, jasmine, solar accord, musk and cashmeran.

Designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the duo behind Proenza Schouler, have said that Arizona was inspired by a trip to the deserts of the American Southwest and some much-needed time away from Wi-Fi…

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Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Shimotsuki ~ fragrance review

Indie perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz recently released the final “season” in her Haiku/Japan::Moonlight series, now comprised of Gekkou Hanami (Spring), Tsukiyo-en (Summer), Tsukimi (Autumn), and last but not least, Shimotsuki (Winter). Tsukimi was my favorite so far, but now I’m a bit smitten with Shimotsuki too…

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Kerosene Walk the Sea ~ fragrance review

The latest release from Michigan-based indie perfume house Kerosene is Walk the Sea, a fragrance “like high tide dried on skin, memories of the waves, sun and shore.” Like all Kerosene releases, it’s a unisex scent; its notes include sea salt, white florals, cedar, ambergris and musk.

This fragrance is titled Walk the Sea, not Walk the Beach, and I think there’s a certain distinction being made there. For me, the “beach” has a whole set of associations that the “sea” alone does not — summer, vacation, suntans, children with sand toys, nearby amusement parks. Walk the Sea doesn’t evoke any of this imagery or its accompanying smells and tastes. There’s no Coppertone, no piña colada, no cotton candy…

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Kerosene Walk the Sea ~ fragrance review

The latest release from Michigan-based indie perfume house Kerosene is Walk the Sea, a fragrance “like high tide dried on skin, memories of the waves, sun and shore.” Like all Kerosene releases, it’s a unisex scent; its notes include sea salt, white florals, cedar, ambergris and musk.

This fragrance is titled Walk the Sea, not Walk the Beach, and I think there’s a certain distinction being made there. For me, the “beach” has a whole set of associations that the “sea” alone does not — summer, vacation, suntans, children with sand toys, nearby amusement parks. Walk the Sea doesn’t evoke any of this imagery or its accompanying smells and tastes. There’s no Coppertone, no piña colada, no cotton candy…

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