Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Moments and Memories: Strange Invisible Perfumes (review)

I’ve been wanting to write this review for days. I received some wonderful samples over the weekend, and was instantly smitten. I don’t have many opportunities to wear fragrance (a lot of people in my life are sensitive); so it was great that I had a weekend to try them out. Also great - I don’t have to work today, so I can experience them again as I type.

The two scents are from an amazing perfume house: Strange Invisible Perfumes. I was already in love with the name; and I also fell in love with the fact that they’re an all natural brand. Their scents are made with certified organic, biodynamic or wildcrafted essences. The fragrances are all designed, blended (by hand) and bottled in-house. They’re also committed to sustainability and the environment.

Fire and Cream (Eau de Parfum)

Blurb: Sinuous. Elegant. Ablaze. Hydro-distilled oranges & orange blossom, tuberose, frankincense, white lavender, vetiver, sandalwood & patchouli. Tuberose and white lavender light up the facets of vetiver, vanilla, and patchouli, while essences of hydro-distilled orange and orange blossom smolder in a fiery glow of top notes.

Essence of IX - Limited Edition (Pure Perfume)

Blurb: A limited edition pure perfume. Brambly. Floral. Stirring. White sage, roses, black currant, California lavender, French oak & wild honey. Inspired by Colgin Cellars' winery, the exquisite terroir of their Napa Valley vineyards, and the famed IX Estate (

So now I’m in love with these fragrances. And yes, I mean love. Scent is very personal. It goes straight to the part of your brain where memories and emotions are stored. A fragrance can send you immediately into the past or create a moment that will live on into the future.

Fire and Cream (which I tried first) was not at all what I expected. When I saw “orange blossom, vanilla, vetiver,” etc. I was expecting a fairly bright, possibly fruity scent. Instead I got something much better. The notes of orange and vanilla are there, but they work as part of an amazing – kind of intoxicating – combination. It’s musky, dark, slightly sweet, slightly grassy and very feminine (but not girly). After about 20 minutes, the sweeter notes come through and then it’s just heavenly. This scent is as complex (and as simple) as a springtime field in the warm sunshine. In fact it brought me right back to a field in Sonoma that I visited in June of 2001. Flowers, earth, grass and warm sunshine…yum.

Essence of IX was like the flip side of the same coin. Another warm, earthy scent; but definitely more modern and sophisticated. At first, a lot of the lavender comes through in a way that’s very clean and sharp (the good kind). The herbal notes are also very present. It’s a really heady combination in the beginning. As the top notes fade, more of the floral notes start to emerge – especially the rose. The herbal and lavender notes are still there, but as the rose becomes more present, combination is just beautiful. It’s rich, soft, lovely, warm and romantic, yet still very elegant.

Natural perfumes are the way things “used to be.” Before synthetic ingredients and mass-production, scents were hand made from things that came right from the earth. When I tried these fragrances, there was a part of me that knew I had just inhaled “the real thing.”

The website has even more information about how the fragrances are crafted, the ingredients, notes on botanical perfumery, and the company’s commitment to natural processes and sustainability. If you’re a Southern Californian, you may want to take a trip to Venice and visit their Boutique.

Happy Wednesday!

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