Monday, November 22, 2010

Outlaw Perfumes: Light and Ambress

Drawing Alert! I will do the drawing for the full bottle of "Belle Starr" by Lisa Fong of Artemisia Perfumes on Tuesday, Nov. 23rd!
If you've left a comment on any of these "Outlaw" posts, you're entered. If not, leave one -- I'll announce the winner Tuesday morning.

Perfumer: Anya McCoy
Ever since the demise of “Love’s Fresh Lemon,” a zillion years ago, I’ve looked for a citrusy fragrance that smells real. It’s been just about impossible to find one. Either it smells fake or the other ingredients step all over the lemon note.
This one is different. “Light” opens with wonderful mixed citrus that never fades, remarkable in any fragrance. The reason is the Chinese aglaia flower, around which this perfume is built, hand-tinctured by McCoy. She writes that the flower, smaller than a lentil, has a scent like that of a fresh lemon held in the hand. (Most lemon oils are obtained by crushing the peels.) 
The name “Aglaia” was that of a Greek goddess, one of the Three Graces or Charites, three sisters who represented Good Cheer (Thalia), Mirth (Esphrosyne) and Splendor (Aglaia). Generally they were associated with charm, creativity and fertility, and were of uncertain godly parentage. Aglaia did particularly well -- there’s an asteroid named after her.
This is very much a unisex scent, and could be worn anywhere, by anyone. The inclusion of musky genet and the resinous frankincense base add complexity to the citrusy heart. Delicate and artisanal.

As always, ingredients on the IFRA's proposed no-no list are given in red italics. Untested essences are in pink italics.

Top notes: Sicilian cedrat, Israeli yellow grapefruit, French juniper berry.
Middle notes: Chinese aglaia flower*, French genet flower, North Carolina ambergris.
Base notes: Hojari frankincense oil, edible frankincense sacra resinoid
“Light” stays close to skin, as do most botanicals. Longevity is better on cloth than skin.
Perfumer: Anya McCoy
I tried this without looking at the “notes,” and was very surprised to immediately recognize a deep, multifaceted rose essence. I’ve searched for an amber/rose commercial perfume, but most are very sweet on my skin, sugary and/or gourmand-y or caramel-like. The roses here are sweet, but that’s ok; they never get shrill, as synthetic roses sometimes do. They’re nicely balanced by the earthy ambers, patchouli and vanilla. And they’re entirely without the beanlike aroma I’ve found in some rose absolutes and scents made with them. The amber oil used here is real also, made from fossilized Himalayan amber. “Ambress” smells best on skin first (aka a “patch test”), then fabric near skin and, finally, paper.
“Ambress” also features a new kind of rose, the Zambian Princesse de Nassau Rosa Moschata, as well as the new amber oil. Well done!
A precious essence to save for special occasions. Stays close to skin. Longevity: about average for a botanical.

As always, ingredients on the IFRA's proposed no-no list are given in red italics. Untested essences are in pink italics.
Notes: Zambian  Princesse de Nassau Rosa Moschata, African musk rose otto, and Musk rose absolute, Madagascan ylang ylang, South African rose geranium sur fleurs
Base notes: Indonesian patchouli, Himalayan amber oil, Turkish styrax, Greek labdanum, Peruvian tonka bean, Salvadorean balsam tolu, Balsam of Peru, Chinese benzoin, Madagascan vanilla.


womo531 said...

Go Anya! Leave it to her to create 2 completely different yet fascinating scents for this project =)

Anonymous said...

Ambress - you had me at "rose"!

too lovely a thought for more words,

Anna in Edinburgh

Lisa BTB said...

The musk rose has piqued my interest.