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July 2011

Midsummer Night's Eve Perfume Event: Dancing my way through Midsummer!

  Waternymphs

It’s the end of July and summer is going strong here in the Midwest…There’s almost no place to run away from the brutal heat except for the garden which is ablaze with flowers and Monarch butterflies .

The fairies seem to have taken pity on me, they fan me with their wings and take delight in turning on the hoses in the most inappropriate moments. Last week when I was on my way to a fashion show that I was chairing for The Cleveland Orchestra, several of them decided that it would be hilarious fun to turn my hat into a watering can for the tomatoes and my Herme’s handbag into a planter for the ferns. Today they decided that it would be fun to push me into my young neighbors wading pool. Oh well….I love it that they're trying to take such good care of me!

So today I have 6 stunning natural perfumes to share with you that are truly fairy touched and fabulous. I love them and you will too, so without further adieu I bring you the last installment of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Perfume event! My thanks to all of the wonderful perfumers and bloggers who participated. It was indeed a treat to get to know all of you just a little bit better!

 

Amanda Feeley/ Esscentual Alchemy: Pixie Dust and Bottoms Dream

To say that I love Pixie Dust  by Amanda Feeley would be an tragic understatement. First of all there’s the description….”Pixie Dust Botanical Perfume is a scented description of   an ancient British forest..the kind that you would have found in the 16th century”.  This scent is all of that and more. I am reminded of a silvery scented pomander worn over a brocade and velvet gown. I am reminded of my favorite image of all, one of the healing wise woman who lives in that very forest. I am reminded of a story that I once read of a young titled woman of the 16th century who wanted more from her life and escaped into the forest everyday to sit at the feet of that same wise woman in search of a life filled with magic and healing. Pixie dust is beautiful and I’m overwhelmed by the emotions that it provokes in me. Filled with antique oakmoss and violet, lilac, vanilla and honey the scent of it reminds me of my very roots which lie in the fertile soils of herbalism,  energy work and wicca.  There is rose and bergamot and the lovely heliotrope  comes out to play.  I want this scent in all of its forms, but mostly I desire it in a medieval wet potpourri that I can place in an antique silver biscuit barrel in my bedroom.   Pixie dust takes me back to another lifetime in another time and place and whether that is indeed fantasy or fact it is still a comforting and very healing emotion for me.

Bottoms dream is altogether a completely different perfume than  Pixie Dust…Bottoms Dream reminds me of  a fabulous peachy cocktail  garnished with raspberry puree and champagne and served in a beautiful glass.  It’s playful nature makes me want to put on a lovely dress and go dancing with my dashing husband .  Amanda may not have meant to provoke all of my Southern Belle fantasies but she did and Bottoms dream is definitely that because her rose and jasmine accords are the olfactory equivalent of a wink and a curtsy.  I want to bath in this (How about a bubble bath Amanda?) because it makes me giggle. Like a perfect coral lipstick and just the right toenail polish, Bottoms Dream has the distinct feeling of a wonderful night of heavy petting (Isn’t that what our mothers used to call it!)  with definitely the wrong sort of boy nestled behind curtains of Spanish moss, half naked and sprawled indelicately  on the sexy soft grass.  

 

Jane Cate: Dreams and Visions

I had a beautiful aunt that was dead before I was ever even thought of. Her name was Sadie and the pictures that I’ve seen of her show an exquisitely delicate woman with red hair that was always twisted up elegantly with tendrils escaping down the sides of her very soft face. I have always longed to meet her. As soon as I sniffed Jane Cates lovely Dreams and Visions, I was instantly swept back to a dream that I’d had over 20 years ago.  I was in Denver at the turn of the century and I was watching a lovely woman standing by a beautiful automobile on a turnstile. She was dressed in a beautifully diaphanous sage green dress with a long flowing scarf and her red hair was blowing across her pretty face. There was a scent of rose, not of the dusky sort but very sweet and it lingered even when I woke. I asked her who she was  and she laughed and told me that her name was Sadie. When I described her and asked my mother she identified the scene for me completely. Dreams and Vision is that sort of fragrance, like a beautiful celadon green pashmina shawl that you’d wrap around your shoulders like a caress. With notes of patchouli, cassia and sandalwood you’d expect it to be muskier than it is but the mimosa and the rose absolute weave a spell that absolutely   timeless and more than a little bit playful.

 

Artemisia Natural Perfume: Orchard

When I smell the completely lovely Orchard eau de parfum  by Lisa Fong ,  my mind conjures up the enchanted smell of my gardens at midnight, which is my favorite time to go outside and lie in my hammock. Somehow the nasty bugs are all gone, but the fireflies are out and about, dancing among the flowers and lighting up the evening ,  cheerful  and sweet.  My senses of smell is heightened at that time of night and I can smell the pollen and the ripe fruit and the roses take on an effervescent quality that is narcotic to my senses. Orchard is a delightful blend of wild chamomile and clary sage which may account for the subtle relaxation that this parfum provokes. It’s a very beautiful and sparkling fragrance that turned into  honeyed sweetmeats on my skin. Vetiver, Oakmoss, and Mimosa round out the blend and turn Orchard into a veritable Renaissance Faire for the senses.  I love its candid playfulness and the way that I smile when catch a glimpse of it hours later. Sexy and sweet, Orchard has delightful longevity .  Several hours after I put it on I thought that I caught a hint of jasmine scented white chocolate and when I shared it with my husband he proceeded to bend his lips to my neck and take a deep nibble and out to the hammock we went…..

 

April Aromatics: Nectar of Love

Nectar of Love by Tanja Bochnig is stunning. That’s really the only way to describe it. In an instant I was taken back to a story by DH Lawrence that I read many years ago.  At that time I was deeply into Women’s Studies and fascinated by the concept of the Sacred Prostitute.  The book was called “The man who died” and it was based on the premise that Jesus having survived the crucifixion travelled into the country and  found himself at the sacred temple of a  devotee of Isis.  Here is the scene in the story where he finds himself watching her as she prepares to receive him …

“The priestess did not look at him. She took off her saffron mantle and laid it on a low couch. In the dim light she was bare-armed, in her girdled white tunic. But she was still hiding herself away from him. He stood back in shadow and watched her softly fan the brazier and fling on incense. Faint clouds of sweet aroma arose on the air. She turned to the statue in the ritual of approach, softly swaying forward with a slight lurch, like a moored boat, tipping towards the goddess.

He watched the strange rapt woman, and he said to himself: "I must leave her alone in her rapture, her female mysteries." So she tipped in her strange forward-swaying rhythm before the goddess. Then she broke into a murmur of Greek, which he could not understand. And, as she murmured, her swaying softly subsided, like a boat on a sea that grows still. And as he watched her, he saw her soul in its aloneness, and its female difference. He said to himself: "How different she is from me, how strangely different! She is afraid of me, and my male difference. She is getting herself naked and clear of her fear. How sensitive and softly alive she is, with a life so different from mine! How beautiful with a soft, strange courage, of life, so different from my courage of death! What a beautiful thing, like the heart of a rose, like the core of a flame. She is making herself completely penetrable. Ah! how terrible to fail her, or to trespass on her!"

Nectar of love is the scent of that Temple….filled with precious Tuberose, jasmine and rose it’s an incense that burns in the heart as well as the loins. I wanted to pour my sample into a little vial of gold and anoint myself with it. It is a perfume for the breasts, for the sweet spot between your thighs   and the hollows of your throat. I wouldn’t wear this everyday, but I would wear it when I wanted to seduce either in body or spirit.  Nectar of love is sexy and sensual but it’s more than that….it’s transformative and I fell in love with it’s beauty immediately and I promise that you will too.

 

Blossoming Tree Bodycare:  Fare thee well nymph!

Fare the Well Nymph by Lisa Abdul Quddus   is a delightful fragrance that reminds of a bit of  my favorite midsummer cocktail which (witch) is  a Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Redolent with spicy rum and Velvet Falernum, this citrusy classic has a bit of magic in every sip, especially on a hot summers day. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is a strange sort of brew, alternately sweet and bitter and it’s one of the most seductive potions that I’ve ever tasted and so is Fare thee well nymph…..This perfume is filled with  an almost tropical sexiness but not a distinct sweetness…juicy Clementine and mandarin petitgrain  cool you with their fragrant breath almost instantly but just as quickly the passionate Night Queen and vetiver will sweep you off your feet. The resin Omumgorwa lends a seductive trancelike magic  to the perfume and while the Patchouli and Labdanum ground the senses.   All that’s missing is a sarong, black sands and a beautiful musky young raven haired man to take your breath away.

 

 

 

For more impressions of all the incredible perfumes in this project, please visit these participating blogs:

 

 

 

 Waterhouse Painting by Waterhouse!

 


Bewitching Words of Wisdom: Thomas Jefferson

 

  Thomas-jefferson-big


"Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth."
Thomas Jefferson, 1781

 

I wish I'd known him:)

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Midsummer NIghts Dream Perfume Event: Another Flight of Fabulous Fairies!

Butterfly

Many thanks to all for your patience....It's taken me a bit after my father (Who at 92 is still a bit of a sprite himself!) to get my magic back after he landed in the hospital for more then an extended stay last week! But perfume is my favorite  potion of choice and with these incredible fragrances I'm coming back to life rather quickly after such an extended faint.....One of the things that's so interesting to me about natural and botanical fragrances is that upon first sniff they  all seem so similar. I realized within seconds that what I was missing was the piercing shrieks of the synthetics, the aldehydes etc... the crazy library of faux fragrances that we've come to look upon as normal. What becomes quickly apparent are the nuances, the subtleties of energy that are provoked when you begin to enter the very original world of the naturals.I've never met one that wasn't absolutely and sensationally beautiful.

 

I've fallen quite in love with Robin Goodfellow, or as I've come to know him because we are on rather intimate terms "Puck"! Robin is the extraordinarily lovely creation of perfumer Anne Walsh . To comment that Robin is bewitching would be an understatement  and I'm immediately whisked away to a place I've never been with a most devastatingly handsome companion. Masculine it is upon first sniff, but in the most androgynous of ways. Many wonderful accords and tinctures bust most notably Kaffir lime and bergamot give this instantly the feeling of a very sexy eau de cologne but suddenly the jasmine and night queen arrive, creating a sensual juicy almost fleshy feeling. Suddenly I can't help imagining that I'm bathing under the blissful canape of a warm waterfall , surrounded by steamy clouds of fragrant jasmine flowers. My husband sniffed this on on my neck and murmured "Hmmm...sweet.." By the time the Pitanga and Vetiver arrived I was blissfully satisfied, but not satiated. Robin is a beautiful perfume, sultry and sweet and I imagine that he'll be able to weave his magic spell with me for quite a long while......

 

 

I begin to tingle happily whenever I see anything arrive in my mailbox from Joanne Bassett who lives blissfully near the ocean in my beloved Southern California. Her fragrance for this Midsummers event "Night Queen" was no exception. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil immediately sprang to mind....I love the south and all of it's wonderful contradictions, but most especially I adore the fragrance that hangs in the air anywhere near Savannah. "Night Queen" is wonderful....a sort of sticky (in the nicest way) sweet yet very fresh fragrance that makes me want to wander languidly  through a beautiful old southern cemetery with my husband contemplating the fleeting nature of the the flesh...."Reine de Nuit" is a perfume for that moment when dusk moves into night...a time when anything is possible. There are 17 wonderful oils used here, far to many to name but all simply wonderful. Beginning with the fragrant night queen, damask rose, tuberose and moving through vintage jasmine, clove and violet this is a spellbinding fragrance that is impossible to resist. This isn't a sweet little daytime perfume so let yourself be swept away and enchanted...but beware ...once you've been carried away by the charms of the Night Queen, absolutely no other will do.

 

Unicorn

"I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk roses and with englantine....."

Shelley Waddington's absolutely exquisite Titania is my favorite sort of perfume , a luscious, fruity herb and spice filled fougere that just makes my heart song every time I smell it. Shelley described her delicious Titania as peacefully playful and I agree....this lovely fragrance is simply happiness in a bottle. All of my favorite friends are there , Fresh basil, mint and Hidcote lavender.....mosses, ferns, wild rose  and heliotope ,all these and so many more. There is a base of honey, exotic woods and nuts that grounds this intoxicating brew. I'm left remembering one of my most treasured moments; a walk through the Cloisters in New York City with my beloved husband. As we wandered hand and hand through the beautifully scented Medieval gardens there was no other place in the world that I could have wanted to be. When we got to the room with the incredible French Unicorn tapestries I was in absolute heaven.  Shelley's Titania provoked that memory for me as soon as I smelled it....Love at first site just like it was with my husband so many centuries ago......

 

I can't resist a perfume that claims...."If you don't want to get laid, don't wear it". Pan by Ambrosia is a  perfume that I think could definitely live up to that challenge. It's very masculine, like the horned God himself and the muskiness mixed into the delicious blend of rosemary, thyme, marjoram and Indian Patchouli is delightful and exquisitely sexy in a sort of "roll around naked and sweaty in the tall grass sort of way" and it smells incredible on my husband, better than it does on me and I think that this one takes a man to unleash it's potency. Pan is quite herbaceous but there's also something in it that reminds me of my horse Henry when we've been galloping around in the dense woods for a bit and he's fairly sweaty and so am I. It's that fine line between animal passion and human playfulness that I think that she's captured here and she's done it very well. At first sniff Pan seems simple and then suddenly you're enslaved by his lovely flutes. Follow him anywhere but at your own risk.....unplanned risky delightful sex in a bottle this one is:)

 

Peaseblossom - The Scented Djinn

Immediately upon sniffing Peaseblossom I began to blush. Justine at The Scented Djinn has created a wonderful perfume that took me back immediately to long summer afternoons at the barn, warm straw and sweet oats, ponies and sweet corn and of course..boys. Peaseblossom is a quiet perfume that warms up as soon as it touches your skin, melting into something very sweet , familiar and relaxing. The tinctured wheatgrass is fascinating and delightfully green and I love perfumes with vanilla, oakmoss and tonka and honey; Peaseblossom has plenty of that softly resinous quality to make me happy. This is a bottle full of sweet meadow grasses and windfall apples on a warm autumn day and there's also a bit of something delightful and leathery although I'm not sure what that is. There's something a a sweetly stolen kiss here...fleeting yet delicate, a touch wicked but innocent and definitely the stuff that more than a few young girls fantasies are made of.

 

 

More sweetly scented stories to come...... 

 

 

For more impressions of all the incredible perfumes in this project, please visit these participating blogs:
All photos by me....please don't use without my written consent!

Midsummer Nights Dream Scent Event! A better day awaits!

Well, you'll all remember that last week I started writing about all of the wonderful perfumey fairies that were fluttering happily in my gardens with promises of more to come. Shortly after that my 92 year old father was rushed to the ER and all thoughts of writing came to an abrupt halt. I can happily say that tonight he's back home and resting comfortably after a full week in the hospital thankfully none the worse for wear. And the good news is that I've finally been able to think about writing once again and happily the sweetly scented, gaily fluttering, mischievous  little darlings have begun to reappear .....

 On a walk this evening with my darling husband I noticed the most amazing fragrance wafting from a tree in front of me and the sound of about a thousand honeybees buzzing through the branches.  It was a Linden in totally abundant and honeyed bloom. It was one of the most gorgeous things that I've ever smelled and I immediately made a mental note to come back tomorrow with scissors and a harvesting basket. If you've never tried it, a tisane made from the lovely linden is possibly the most relaxing tea in the world...a favorite of Proust, Colette and yours truly especially when sipped with Madeleines or freshly baked shortbread. My favorite perfumes are Linden perfumes so to stand under her gorgeous branches for even a moment was completely mesmerizing and Jim had to hold on to me for dear life... Take a look for yourself! Truly only a tree full of fairies could be this intoxicating..... 

Linden

           The WIndesphere Witch will be back on Monday with more wonderful fragrance reviews of scents from the fabulous natural perfumers who are participating in this extraordinary Midsummers fragrance event! I thank you so much for your patience!