What I want to smell like when I go on an adventure: a review of Raw Spirit Fragrances

raw-spirit-about-article1This is a review a loooong time coming, I have had their sample set for the last two months and finally feel like I can give a quality review. I was contacted and asked to review it and being the type of perfumista I am, was glad to oblige. Contained in their sample set are vials (some with a dipstick and some in an atomizer) and on each card it lists the notes, with a short visual description of the environment or geographical location that inspired the fragrance. Also included was a decent sized sample of their Mystic Pearl body butter, which not only provides moisture, but also has the same scent as their Mystic Pearl scent and is a great carrier for that fragrance when you don’t want to spray it on (as a side note don’t drop the container, mine took a tumble and I cracked the lid quite easily).

Anyhow, let me get into telling you a bit about Raw Spirit Fragrances, in recent history they have become quite a bit more visible in the marketplace and now are carried in Ulta, Amazon, QVC, Dermstore, Anthropologie… you get the idea. And have been recognized in several press releases and articles. The brand itself through focuses on the communities that they get their inspiration and ingredients the most though; Haiti, Australia, and Native American tribes in California  and the Florida Everglades. Started as a collaborative art project between Russell James and Dr Richard Walley in their own press Collaboration is the heart of their motivations:

Collaboration is at the heart of our business model. Raw Spirit began as a collaboration with Dr Richard Walley, artist and respected spokesperson of Western Australia’s Nyoogar people and long-time supporter and friend. With Dr Walley’s support and guidance, Raw Spirit brought its first fragrance oil, Fire Tree, to market in 2012, a product inspired by 20,000 years of Indigenous knowledge of the fire tree’s unique qualities.

In 2013, Raw Spirit began working with farming communities in Haiti, sustainably sourcing premium Haitian Vetiver.

More recently, collaborations with the Native American Chumash Indian Museum of California and The Seminole Tribe of Florida have continued the Raw Spirit journey.

In addition to our cultural partners, we collaborate with technical experts, such as fragrance house Firmenich, Atlas Pearls and Perfumes, Essential Oils of Tasmania, as well as mentors such as the Clinton Global Initiative, all of whom contribute their technical and regional expertise while sharing our vision for sustainable sourcing and creating positive long term outcomes for our partner communities.

In my own views though Raw Spirit is about being conscious of your impact on the world and the world’s impact on you. they have a very pro-small community vibe and promote a positive and uplifting message. The line has a total of 7 different scents, four of which have vetiver as a major note; truth be told I’m not typically a fan of vetiver, but these are really well blended and the vetiver for the most part did not pull bitter.

And now for what you’re really waiting for: the reviews; I am going to provide you with the notes, the description from their website and then my own thoughts for each.

desert-blush-alt2_1Review the first: Desert Blush (dabber), unisex:

The notes (from Fragrantica): Australian Boronia, ylang-ylang, osmanthus, jasmine petals, violet, Australian sandalwood, musk and cedar wood.

From Raw Fragrances:

Inspired by the Western Australian desert at sunset, just before darkness falls. The harsh light of the daylight softens, turning the red soil into a deep pink. The land seems to exhale, filling the air with a sensual, dry, and sweet aroma.

To my nose this starts out as a dry, but heady floral, like a bouquet of dried and fresh flowers, or maybe a bouquet of decorative wood and lush flowers. After this dry lush opening I get a green bitter note with some more warm woody notes, which reads almost like a sweet wood, slightly polished with warmth. There is a nice interplay between the woodiness and the floral notes, and I almost get the feeling of a pink toned sunset. Like a sunset the edges seem also to fade into the skin, I get a good three hours of good projection and then this becomes a skin scent, but I don’t mind that at all because this is gorgeous. I can appreciate the warmth on my skin, the sandalwood really brings it home for me, and though cedar turns dry and slightly medicinal on my skin, the jasmine turns it more into a deeper lusher scent.

Review the second: Bijou Vert (Green Jewel) (dabber), unisex: bijou-vert-alt2_1

The notes (from Fragrantica): Haitian vetiver, grapefruit, mandarin, geranium, lotus flower, black pepper, benzoin, patchouli and cedarwood.

From Raw Spirit Fragrances: Inspired by Haiti, the Caribbean isle once known as the “Jewel of the Antilles”. This scent evokes the cool of a summer morning, but hints at the heat that is about to come.

This starts out on my skin slightly bitter, woody and lightly citrus- I’m thinking this is the combination of the vetiver and grapefruit as I mentioned before vetiver can pull slightly bitter on my skin, but I think the grapefruit is helping with the bitterness as well. Bijou Vert’s citrus notes aren’t bright or  fresh on on my skin, it almost smells watery and dry. I know this sounds like a strange combination, but I think it’s like the smell of herbal- green notes, the combination of the geranium, lotus flower, pepper and patchouli are like a moist (that word) earthy green marsh with morning humidity just starting to rise off of it. The base brings back some of the dryness I got in the beginning, I’m accounting this to the cedar wood and the slightly herbal medicinal note it leaves on my skin. Bijou Vert is a green scent on my skin, but note an emerald or forest green, it’s almost a sage; green with hints of brown, a slight tinge of yellow and a little grayish in the end.

Review the third: Summer Rain (spray), unisex:

summer-rain-alt2The notes (from Fragrantica): Lime, grapefruit, orange blossom, jasmine, vetiver and cedar.

From Raw Spirit Fragrances: Inspired by summer in the Florida Everglades, when the air is thick with humidity and the afternoon storm clouds build. The summer rain begins, quickly cooling the earth and reviving your spirit.

This starts out as a bright citrus on me, it’s slightly sharp and tangy and moves quickly from being just a citrus fruit scent to a melding of orange flower and fruit. The orange blossom is sweet though, like an orange blossom candy or syrup, but not cloying. Strangely is also smells clean, but not in a laundry or cleaner way, but like a breadth of freshness, like a breeze lifting the curtains with the windows open on a spring day. As that breeze is wafting through the orange blossom brings along some jasmine, but it’s blended so well it doesn’t overwhelm the composition nor does it pull in an animalistic direction. This jasmine is polite and plays well with the orange blossom, it brings a slight greenness to the party, like the rustle of leaves. And ironically enough after a while the branches come inside too, and I think this might be the first time that two notes that typically turn strangely on my skin behave nicely. The vetiver and cedar base notes rather that becoming medicinal or bitter just become a slightly dry warm wood with a hint of earthiness on my skin. (As you can probably tell this is a favorite I warmed up to.)

Review the fourth: Mystic Pearl (spray), unlisted- suspect feminine: mystic-pearl-alt2

Notes (from Fragrantica): white flowers, jasmine, frangipani, sea notes, coconut, cinnamon and cloves.

From Raw Spirit Fragrances: Inspired by the mystical island of Bali and the pristine waters of the South Seas, home to the magnificent Queen of Pearls, the Pinctada. We have unlocked a mystery, the secret scent of the pearl.

This right off the bat does not play around, Mystic Pearl is a strong heady floral, with a mind of it’s own. It almost feels like being smothered in slightly greenish, huge softball-sized blooming blossoms with jasmine mixed in,  it’s voluptuous and tropical, I’m not complaining- it’s gorgeous and walks the edge of being overwhelming very well. On the edge of those flowers though a sandy beach seems to glide in bringing a bit of dryness and almost a slightly grassy tone. I then started to get the coconut, but it isn’t a sunblock note, it’s almost on the verge of being foody, in a toasted way (this might also be the spices hanging in the background waiting their turn) – reading along with the floral notes still lingering almost smoky and slightly warm. I really think the combination of the cinnamon and cloves along with the dry coconut almost smells like an incense smoke, and reads a bit vanillic, but not sweet- like the dried pods with a toasty spicy feel. At the true base of the fragrance I still get some of the florals, but the coconut and spice just make it out to be a warm and comforting skin scent.

Review the fifth: Citadel (dabber), unisex:

citadelle-alt2_1Notes (from Fragrantica): Haitian vetiver, together with marigold (tagetes), pear, bergamot, lemon, spices, amberwood, musk and cedarwood.

From Raw Spirit Fragrances: Inspired by the Citadelle Laferrière, the awe-inspiring mountaintop fortress in northern Haiti, Citadelle symbolizes strength and celebrates the spirit of the Haitian people.

This was a more difficult fragrance for me, I can’t say that it was my favorite, but now rereading the description that it was meant to emulate it makes a lot more sense to me as to why it smelled the way it did on my skin (though it was such a smooth flow of notes I wish i liked it better). Right at the start Citadel started earthy and very bitter on my skin, to be honest this grated on me and colored the rest of my experience. Thankfully that bitter note seemed to be tempered by the marigold, which brought a slightly herbal floral note to the mix and opened the door to the fruitiness that followed. The fruitiness though was not overly sweet, or cloying, it was more reminiscent of the skin or leaves of a pear tree or the slightly bitter pith or an orange or lemon and really lead into the spiciness that followed. The spiciness in Citadel was not like walking into a kitchen or bakery, it reminded me of the smell of dried spices or tea stored in a canister- similarly to a spice store I used to visit that you could scoop your own bulk spices and also sold teas and bulk grains. The final scent that lingers for a while on my skin was all warmth and dryness, I account this to the combination of the amber and the dryness I get from cedar and musk- remarkably though the citrus rinds of before also made a reappearance and made me like the base a lot more than my bitter first impression.

Review the sixth: Winter Oak (dabber), unisex:

Notes (from Fragrantica): Clary Sage, Italian Bergamot, Pepper, Floridian Lemon Oil and winter-oak-alt2_1_1Geranium, Saffron, Mate Absolute, Clove Bud and Olibanum, Leather Suede, an Oakwood Accord, Oakmoss, Florida and Atlas Cedarwood, Haitian Vetiver, Patchouli and Sleek Musks,

From Raw Spirit Fragrances: Inspired by walking the oak-lined trails of the Chumash Lands of California on cool winter mornings, when crushed oak leaves and twigs release their rich scent.

This is warm and sunny right off the bat, it smells like walking in the tree lined park, and is slightly spicy giving me a Fall vibe. The combination of the herbal (sage, pepper and clove) along with the citrus notes gives this a very bright and slightly airy feel, like being simultaneously warm and cold.  I can almost hear the sound of fallen leaves crunching under my feet. It’s very warm and slightly earthy in a dry way – like standing in a forest and looking up at green, yellow, orange and red leaves. Just as I’m getting used to the warmth and coziness of the spices and the subtle hint of tea notes this starts to become very dry and almost crackly like the sounds of dry tree branches snapping. the interplay of the vetiver and the cedar (unlike in a review above) has a very different feel in winter Oak, while is is still bitter and slightly medicinal there’s a slightly earthy herbal note, almost like the smell of vitamins, it’s both green and brown and slightly green smelling. I almost also feel like I can smell some of the dried grasses along the past I’m walking, like a slightly greenish cereal scent, that it pretty fleeting though and I get a very clean scent that also passes by quickly before this turns into a dry, warm and slightly sweet scent. (If you can’t tell, this was another I enjoyed trying out a lot.)

Review the seventh: Wild Fire (spray), unisex:

wild-fire-alt2Notes (from Fragrantica):  Australian sandalwood with the creamy amber and floral notes, including ylang-ylang, jasmine petals, cedarwood and musk.

From Raw Spirit Fragrances: Inspired by the intoxicating scent of the Western Australian outback in the intense heat of summer. The dry air tingles as wild fires threaten.

This is another one I really liked, there was something about the warmth, creaminess and the rich smooth florals that just hooked me. The first impression I had on application was a woody warmth, it was dry but warm and slightly incensey and had a slightly sweet ambery note. This stuck around for a while before the creamy florals started to slowly creep in (such a smooth transition); the ylang-ylang and jasmine in this composition were luxurious and so smooth (like buttah). This is gorgeous, the interplay between the slight woodiness of the sandalwood and amber with the smoothness of the ylang-ylang was perfectly balanced. even when the jasmine pushed forward more it didn’t end up being over bearing or animalistic, it stayed a sweet, polite and smelled like I was wearing fresh blossoms in my hair. even the base notes of cedar and musk played out so well in Wild Fire, it didn’t smell medicinal or synthetic it just smelled like dry, crisp branches and almost had a cereal grain feel (which typically I wouldn’t go for in a fragrance, but this works). Gorgeous!


So I guess you’re wondering what my final thoughts are on Raw Spirit Fragrances, eh? I am so glad I had the opportunity to review them, to be honest, though I loved their marketing I was unsure of testing a fragrance line that had a strong focus on vetiver and cedar in their fragrances, since those are notes I don’t typically gravitate to. That being said, if you’re on the fence, give them a try and pick up their sample set, you might be surprised what you end up liking. The four I enjoyed the most were Desert Blush, Summer Rain, Winter Oak and Wild Fire, each has a slight woodiness to them and I appreciate that in fragrances. What I was most surprised about was not liking Citadel that much, especially since there were so many that said it was their favorite from the line.

As a side note, when I was testing these I tested them on skin that was freshly washed and only tested them one at a time, I do wonder though if some of these would be good to layer together, that’s not how they are marketed, but I imagine that the spiciness of Winter Oak would play well with the creaminess of Wild Fire.


Thank you to Raw Spirit for sending these to me to review. I would love to hear your thoughts below. thank you dear reader for making it to the end!











In the wide world of fragrance am I a collector or hoarder?

I was thinking about this recently, mainly because I follow individuals on Instagram and Facebook that have been doing purging of their collections of things and embracing a minimalistic philosophy. I have always been a collector of things, whether it be books, DVDs, antiques, crafting supplies and in the last 8 years or so perfume; My mother has been the same way with books, fabrics and beading supplies. I was even asked by one of my instagram friends if I wore all of my perfumes, which remarkably I do. I guess though my view has always been that each item I have collected has value, maybe not a physical value, but an emotional one. Do I have hoarding tendencies? Yes, I do, but much has changed in the last 10 years and I have become conscious of how I view and value the things I collect. I honestly think that my precondition towards “hoarding is directly correlated with my attempt to manage my world, with my endo and fibro I deal with a lot of pain adding depression and anxiety on top just creates a very regimented type of view on the world.

For example when I collect certain things I see them as having a more in depth value that what is on the surface:

  • Books: Are doorways to other worlds and the past, they make me think more about how the world can be both a tragic and joyful place. when I was a kid I was always encouraged to read and to think critically about what I was reading; in hindsight that might be why I like doing research so much.
  • DVDs: Similarly to books they can be portals to other places in time and location, but having been gifted The Power of Myth by my step-father as a high school student and that probably influenced me in the Anthropology dirction as well.
  • Antiques: It’s all about the history! My favorite things to collect are books, handkerchiefs, and teacups; all things that were handled in love and friendship. There is something about handling things that have history to them and were handled by someone 60,70, 80, 90 or 100 years ago.
  • Crafting supplies: Specifically drawing or coloring- pencils, pens, inks- I have yet to really find my niche, I come from a family artists and I keep trying new things to figure out my place artistically in the family. Recently I went to an art show for a dear friend and wandered into another gallery/studio so I have a feeling fabric arts with a focus on felting will be my next artistic endeavor.
  • Lastly perfume: Perfume is a gateway for me to understand the world better, each is a snapshot of someone’s interpretation of the world. there is something about sharing in the long history of fragrance, and each time I apply a fragrance I think about the ritual of fragrance application from the Egyptians, to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, perfume in the Royal courts, the application of floral waters and the carrying of nosegays, the use of fragrance in the treating of illnesses and the application of modern (past 1910’s) fragrances as a way to be subversive or to present emotion or personality. There’s more to perfume than just wearing it, it is in its basest form just something pretty and light, but once you stat reading the subtext there is so much more there. Why, for instance, did a perfumer add a note of civet to a composition? Or rose? Or why did Shalimar have such a scandalous reputation? Frequently I go through my collection and sniff, taking short trips into the past or the mind of a perfumer. When I physically am limited to laying in bed with fibro and endo pain, fragrance is the easiest and most pleasant outlet. (Side note, the best time for my to try “challenging fragrances” is during that time of the month, because my nose, like everything else is more sensitive and I get to experience all the notes.)


Thank you for reading this, I would appreciate any thoughts, as of late I have been drawn in by iris, perhaps I am being drawn back to the springtime of my childhood when they bloomed along the house?


The road to posts is paved with good intentions…

So if anything my absence has probably told you I’ve been going through a stress cycle as of late. Work, insomnia, fibro-fog, rinse, repeat. I have been thinking about what I want to write about though on here, not only to get things organized in my head, but also to give you something dear reader, to read. I do have a review of the line from Raw Spirit Fragrances that I am working on (https://rawspiritfragrances.com), but with the fibro-fog things have been slow. I have a lido treatment on Friday, so hopefully I will be doing better on that front, because frankly it is a huge annoyance not to be able to think clearly. I am wondering though, what would you like to read? I am thinking about doing some posts on the best fragrance books, my perfume collection (brands, notes, categories, etc.) or on fibro for that matter. What would you be interested, I’ll write what I think would be interesting, but if you have ideas, I would love to hear them too. Anyhow, more later from me, I’m thinking that the first post- review post might end up being a note highlight on iris, since it has been in my heart recently.


Phlur sample set: review and thoughts

Let’s start at the very beginning, what led me to trying Phlur in the first place. I am a perfume “collector” in the sense that I collect fragrances, but not so much in that I wear what I buy, I don’t collect to look at them. That being said, even though I love fragrances and wear them as I like, I do have friends that have issues with fragrances that I don’t wear the “scent bombs” around; one of those friends (who ironically enough helped introduce me to other perfume avenues) has been repeatedly sending me links about Phlur and pestering me about trying them. Me being the person I am, finally caved and was happy to try them when I was given the opportunity. In addition I like the thought process behind their house, their motivation is to find fragrances that are good for the wearer, their “audience” and the environment, which I can definitely stand behind.

The three fragrances that I received were Hanami, Siano and Moab. Below I will list their notes and my impressions; with each I got about the same amount of wear time a good 6 hours 3-4 with some strength and the rest of that time purely a skin scent. I wish they actually had a set with all of their fragrances in it, when I’m trying out a house I like being able to get the full picture and honestly paying 30.00 in one pop is more attractive to me than having to get two sets. Their packaging was nice though and the set arrived quickly. I will also add that I didn’t listen to the playlists of the fragrances, I tested them on their own merit on their own, as I do with all of my fragrances.

The first of the trio that I tried was Hanami, the listed notes are (from the Phlur website): fig, white florals, hazelnut, and sandalwood. Fig has always been a difficult note on my skin and it reads differently each time I wear it. Upon initial application I get a blast of sharp green notes, which almost made me scrub this off, but I let it sit, they started out quite bitter, but after about 5 minutes became sour. The saving grace was the woodiness that then showed up on the scene, which seemed cold at first and slowly warmed up, but was pretty dry all the way through, like a wood pile from winter to spring. At this point it became almost entirely about the woods, the green sharpness completely faded away and I was left with slightly sweet, earthy woods that slid into home. By the time I got all the way through the to when this was just a skin scent all I smelled was sandalwood, which I liked in the end. I wouldn’t say I could pick out individual notes (other than the sandalwood in the base), typically I try to pull them out, but with the green screech in the beginning I was hesitant to press my nose to my wrist. All in all, this one was ok to me, nice, but not great.

After hearing some chatter about Siano, I decided to try this one next, the listed notes (all from their website) are:  green pepper, ylang ylang, osmanthus, mimosa and cognac. On initial application I get a piney note, like fresh pine needles, that only lasts a few minutes before it disappears, but is a bit of a head scratcher, especially after reading the notes. This is mildly floral, but stays pretty earthy and dry. I get at times a slightly citrus note, which moves right into a slightly bitter green note with a bit  of spiciness, and a dried branch note, but none of the notes stand out distinctly. To be honest I like this better than Hanami, but I could take it or leave it, it’s nice, but not distinctive.

The final selection ended up being my favorite of the three- which shouldn’t be a surprise considering my tastes, the listed notes are (Phlur): long pepper, clove, vanilla, jasmine and tonka bean. The notes listed on Fragrantica are: spicy notes, woody notes, solar notes and sand; essentially a dried spice rack or spice market to my nose. Upon initial application I got what I felt was a cinnamon sugar note, meaning it wasn’t sweet per se, but was not a red hots cinnamon, but a dried one. After that initial cinnamon note I got what I thought was a blend of nutmeg and ginger (the clove) with a slightly rich bitter note of black tea, or at least what my nose read as black tea. Come to think of it that might have been the jasmine because I associate that scent with a Chinese Jasmine black tea I used to get from the Asian market near my college. After a while I smell something similar to a dried grain smell, again probably an association with a spice store I have been in that sold spices, grains and dried fruit in bulk. Closer to the base I did smell some slightly sweet woodiness, which in reality was probably the clove reappearing and playing up the vanilla and tonka. Though I said sweetness in my last sentence, this isn’t a sweet, gourmand fragrance to my nose, it’s dry and slightly bitter, but not in an unpleasant way at all. Of the three I appreciated this one the most and made me the most interested in trying the rest of the fragrances in this house.

To conclude, I’d definitely be open to trying more, but as of right now I wouldn’t be running out to buy a bottle. The sample set is 15.00, you choose three and the cost of the set can be applied to a full bottle of your choice. I think this would be great to try if you’re someone like me and wants to try all the scents you can, or if you are someone that has sensitivities to perfume, but still wants to wear them.

I hope you all are having a good day and I’ll chat more later!






Murphy’s law, or I just let a guy in a truck turn left in front of me down a side street…

Boy, oh boy. this has been a super fun week and a half. It’s been a busy week and a half too, silver lining though? Perfume in the mail! I now more now than I ever wanted to know about the claims process and the totaling of a car (my poor Cordelia- my little green car). on Thursday he 16th I let a guy in a truck turn left down a side street in front of me and a sweet 17 year old girl rear-ended my poor car. I know you’re wondering if I’m ok, I am, though with all the stress of the car issues and work related stress I’m now in the middle of a flare up, so fun! It could always be worse though, right now I’m just trying to get all my ducks in a row, so I can focus on other things, like doing reviews.

Here are some details of the fun:

  • This is the fourth accident with this car and me driving when people have hit my bumper, and if the car was getting fixed, would have been the 5th bumper on my car since I purchased it in 2008.
  • The insurance company that I had to work with was frustratingly slow and resisted sharing information with me. e.g. Telling me my car was totaled and that was my only option, but in reality I had a few options.
  • Just an FYI, you can negotiate if need be, like if you need the rental car for longer and the reason why is because of their slowness.
  • If they (the other driver) is liable, the only money you should have to spend is for the gas in the rental, if their insurance company tried to tell you differently as for a supervisor and get that resolved. (the squeaky wheel gets the grease)
  • I knew I was going to be sad about getting a new car and saying goodbye to my old car, but I was surprised how sad I was and cried.
  • People like dragging their feet.
  • When working on a beading project for the theater, despite it being a worthwhile project  you will get tired of beading and lose the needle shortly after you complete your project.

Anyhow, I replaced my 2005 green Toyota Corolla with a silver 2013 Toyota Corolla, another ‘clown car’ as my husband says, because it’s apparently for short people.

I will be doing another blog post soon with my reviews of the Raw Spirit fragrances (I wore Mystic Pearl on my arm last night and I could smell it when I woke up 7 hours later quite clearly), Phlur fragrances and the Scent Trunk Fit Kit.

I hope you all are having a good week, I’m hoping to be able to get some good rest soon and just chill out for a bit.


The f-word and perfume

The f-word I’m talking about is not that four letter one, but an 8-letter word, feminism. More specifically how if is possible to be a “good feminist” and also be a collector of perfume. You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, but I have been thinking about this for a long while and it’s the post that I was talking about making before. I think this is actually going to be a longer discussion than one post though, the historian in me wants to do the research and really dig into how being a modern woman, a feminist and a lover of perfume fit together.

In this day and age being a feminist is more the understanding of oneself and making choices, but there are still certain notions that a distinctly “feminist”. The definition of feminism is (Websters):

  1. 1 :  the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

  2. 2 :  organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

But it’s also more than that, there also seems to be the component of being aware of the ways women are treated differently in the commercial industry. For example, the ways that products are advertised, and the message that one is supposed to give off to the opposite sex. I wear perfume for my own pleasure, but the ads often depict women in various stages of undress, or out with her paramour making bedroom eyes, or not even showing her face and body together. Part of this is me trying to be aware of how advertising affects buying habits, and truthfully though I try to avoid looking at the ads, sometimes they are hard to miss. (Beauty Myth)

I think the other reason that I am asking this question is also because the theory, at least in the more recent history of perfume, it was meant to attract a mate; to be honest my husband doesn’t even pay attention to the perfume I’m wearing. And though her has purchased perfumes for me, he doesn’t remember which ones they are in my collection.

Anyhow, I know this was a bit of a ramble, but I wanted to get it down so I would finally be motivated to write more about it. While we think about it, check out this 1970’s ad for Revlon Charlie, thanks to Barbara Herman of Eris Perfumes and her book Scent and Subversion I tried out this early “feminist” perfume. I’ll chat more on this later! Cheers!


Third times the charm: Vartan Perfumes’ Carnelian

Let me start out with the notes on this one: Black pepper, cinnamon, white tobacco, vetiver, carnation, amber, vanilla and tonka.

I get a good 9 hours of wear time, the top and heart notes stick around solidly for the first 4-6 hours depending on the day and the base notes stick around noticeably for another 3 hours and eventually become a mild skin scent. I will also note that this is a pretty non-linear perfume on my skin, I constantly get a renewal of the notes and they fade and reappear through those first hours.

Carnelian to me, is a pretty near perfect scent; it’s warm and comforting like a well worn sweater and almost has the feeling of being in love at the settled stage when you still say the sweet nothings, but are content to sit at home together reading or watching documentaries (I know oddly specific).


Now into the review:

From the sprayer i get a sweet, but not a saccharine spicy amber, very warm vanillic and slightly earthy.

Upon initial application I get a nice blast of spices, which almost smell fresh like a citrus, but not acidic. I also get a bit of powdery carnation, that quickly moves into an earthiness, which I can assume is the vetiver. It almost smells like a clean earthiness, like someone has washed and powdered the underbrush, this sticks around for 5 or so minutes before it becomes spicy again, but it’s not foody at all. In fact, it almost has an incense vibe, not in a church incense, but like something you would pick up at a local natural food store or head shop (I’m thinking this is the combination of the black pepper, vetiver and tobacco because it is slightly smoky). Just as I’m starting to get used to the slightly smoky note the vanilla appears, it’s sweet and almost crystalline (tonka does that for my nose in some of the vanilla tonka fragrances I’ve tried), the amber warms things up as well, making this smell like the inside of a cup of tea, metaphorically though, there’s no tea in this fragrance. The longer I wear I wear this the more the notes swirl around, at one point in that cycle I even smell a phantom note of geranium. After the hours of swirling end this ends up being a gorgeous spicy (mainly cinnamon to my nose), vanillic amber fragrance, I could easily wear it often and not have any complaints at all.

To conclude, this is magic in a bottle, it is simultaneously warm, comforting, and sexy- I’d recommend tracking down at least a sample and falling deeply in love with Carnelian;  she plays for keeps.


And now for something completely different…

Tomorrow is Friday, thank goodness! Today being Thursday and  a day ending in Y, I was dealing with some pretty hefty fibro pain, only 5 more days until a treatment. Until then though I have to be creative with how I manage my pain, because at this point my medications aren’t cutting it completely (boo). Perfume has been a great distraction, and I will have a review coming up shortly for Mon Guerlain, but I was in search of something that might actually give me some relief. Fellow pain sufferers, you’ll want to listen to thing one, I’m currently listening to a cat purr and feeling actual relief. I know it sounds a bit nutty, but there’s actual evidence for it being effective, which for cat owners is pretty cool, but even if you’re allergic you can take a listen on YouTube. So I’ll write more later, but for now, have some healing magic from cat purrs!

There’s more out there, but start here:


Purrs! For hours (literally)!


Why I’m collecting, or how I manage my fragrance life

This post is actually not the one I was originally going to make tonight, but that one is going to take brain power which I don’t have right now, and this one I figured I could make quickly.

To start off, this is actually an indirect response to a comment I received on one of my Instagram posts asking me if I wear all the perfumes in my collection; which I replied that I do, which is true. But the real heart of the matter is why I have such a large collection, and also how I got here. The first thing you should know, which I’ve mentioned on this blog and maybe on Instagram is that I have fibromyalgia. Now this might not seem pertinent, and I’m not looking for pity when I say this, but I’m in pain pretty much 99% of the time (the reason I’m not doing the post I want to tonight is because the pain messes with my brain sometimes). Fragrances, specifically perfume is a great distraction, and unless I’m working on a review, it doesn’t take a lot of brain power. When I’m writing reviews, that is a different matter entirely, I focus my entire being (other than breathing and such) on the notes. That is also why I list them, for me that is the best way to analyze a composition, to take it apart and put it back together.

Getting back to the wearing part though, which what I was supposed to be writing about. Fragrance is a snapshot in time, it’s the balance of chemistry and art, and science and emotion, and history and modern sensibilities. I am still the same person I was as a child asking question after question, trying to understand the world around me. My collection ranges from vintage to modern, oils to alcohol based, designer to niche, mainstream to indie, and cheapie to expensive; but even if it’s a 5.00 bottle of something, someone still put something of themselves in it, and that is why I collect. To understand that one person and a bit about their viewpoint or what is in their world. My trying to understand them helps me to better understand myself, which strangely helps with the other areas of stress in my life.

Anyhow I’ve rambled enough. I apologize if there are any typos, I’m typing this one handed on an iPad, but I thought it was worth getting out there. I hope dear reader, that the rest of your week is fragrant and soothing.

It’s like Deja vu all over again…

They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions; I’m not in hell, but I had good intentions about writing on this blog and that didn’t happen. In my defense this last year has been crazy and if it weren’t for perfumes, the cats, books and especially my now husband, I would have lost my mind.

In the last year in review:

  • I got married, in a not-so-traditional wedding. Seriously my dress was green and gold and our cats were on the cake.
  • We moved, in the month before the wedding, into our lovely house which we didn’t need to paint any walls or do any major overhaul on, thank goodness.
  • My job changed twice, aka the stress roller coaster.
  • I refined my nose. You will notice in my reviews in the future that I go over the notes, I know that not everyone likes that, but for me it has been a goal to be able to deconstruct a perfume as it develops. I will include any thoughts, but when I search out reviews on a fragrance I’m looking for that progression as well as any feelings or thoughts. A feeling is great, but is very personal and doesn’t tell anyone what it might smell like on them.
  • I’ve added to my library, not that I have been able to do much reading, but I hope to add book reviews on here as I do go through my reading list.

So, I guess I should write something of real value than in this post, other than my defense for not writing.

A few things I’ve learned in the last year:

  • Wear perfume for yourself, more specifically if you have a loud vintage that you’ve been wanting to peel open the cellophane on and wear, do it! Just be aware of your audience.
  • Pack with purpose and color code, honestly I think that’s the only reason I got through the move and knew where anything was, though I moved my perfume collection myself.
  • Go through your collection and reorganize it regularly. I wear each of my perfumes, but I regularly pull everything off the carts and review everything I have and retest things often. I have fragrances that I use for reference and comparison and am now more invested in finding more unique scents that have notes I like, but turn them on their head.
  • Read constantly; though I have been lax on my book reading, I have been tearing through the news voraciously and try to keep abreast with what is going on in the world.
  • I’m starting on the path to become a chemist. I come from a family of chemists and my dad always hoped I would become one, but when he was thinking that I don’t think he was thinking of a fragrance chemist. I have been slowly acquiring more books on chemistry and perfumery, and though I might never end up being a perfumer, I want to be as knowledgeable about what goes into a fragrance as I can be to better understand the thoughts behind a formula.

So from now on, I’m going to try really hard to provide you, my dear readers, with something to read. I won’t promise to post frequently, but I will promise to do the best I can with what I have to share.


  • top9