Ylang (in Gold, or not) by M. Micallef (perfume review

I have discovered that I have now officially been wrong once in my life. Despite, or perhaps because of, my limited understanding of fragrance a few years ago, I confidently proclaimed myself  Not a Fan of Florals. And then the world laughed.

Fast forward two years and here I am, grabbing every intensely floral scent I can find with my grubby, essential oil-covered fingers and spraying them quite robustly.

One of my favorite floral notes has quickly become Ylang Ylang (say it: EE-lang EE-lang or YUH-lang YUH-lang), a tropical bloom. It is sweet and pretty, though not necessarily exclusively "feminine".  It is often used to help build a tropical feel in a perfume or other product. "The fragrance of ylang-ylang is rich and deep with notes of rubber and custard, and bright with hints of jasmine and neroli."1   As such, it combines neatly with jasmine, rose, and is often paired with woods. It is considered by many to be an antidepressant, to have a soothing, calming impact on the mood, and to be an aphrodisiac!

I recently heard perfumista friends raving about Ylang in Gold, a scent by M. Micallef, and was thrilled to then get a chance to sample it.

Ylang Notes
Tangerine, geranium, sage, rosemary, artemisia,
Ylang Ylang, sandalwood, lily of the valley, magnolia,
mint, coconut, vanilla, musk, moss

M.Micallef- Ylang (In Gold or not) -$245, 100ml EDP

Ylang by M. Micallef

Technically, the perfume's name is Ylang, though it comes in a version mixed with gold dust, referred to as Ylang in Gold. Apparently the Ylang in Gold will actually leave a gold sheen to the skin. I dunno, I tested the non-bedazzled version.

Take a look at the list of notes, and you may expect a fairly complex scent with spinning, sparkling facets. You may figure you'll have hours to experience the layers, pulling them apart and thinking them over. What you get, though, is much more straight-forward: ylang ylang and vanilla. Maybe there's some lily of the valley in there, perhaps the coconut and musk, softly. But mostly, ylang ylang and vanilla.

Ylang in Gold is in the same vein as Baiser Volé (Cartier) and Songes (Annick Goutal), though those are based around lilies, and jasmine with tiare and ylang ylang, respectively. Songes is, like Ylang in Gold, supported by a beautiful, creamy vanilla note. While Baiser Volé does not list vanilla in the base of the scent, I swear there's a touch there. Certainly, the three scents have a similar mood and feel: creamy, feminine, soft, green, tropical.

To be honest, I prefer Songes. While Ylang in Gold is beautiful, on my skin it's just a bit too soft. Too passive. However, it's definitely office-friendly. It probably works in a lot of situations, actually. I just prefer the more over-the-top femininity of Songes. If you're going to go there, GO! Why be shy?

Have you tried Ylang in Gold? What do you think? How are you on the topic of florals? Ylang ylang? Tell me your favorite florals in the comments!

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A Oud I Would! Mandy Aftel's Oud Luban perfume extrait

What happens when you mix a particular species of Asian evergreen tree, let it get diseased and rotten from a specific kind of mold, then extract that destroyed heartwood and make it into oils? Well, you get agarwood or oud. And you also get the current darling of the perfume world! Oud notes are being used in all branches of perfumery from exclusive expensive brands to department store offerings to small batches created by independent perfumers.

While some perfumistas may be crying "oud burnout", I have been relieved of that burden because, quite frankly, oud and I do not mix well.

This is baffling to me because usually I have impressive and no-fail champagne tastes - and oud is an expensive raw material (making perfumes that contain high-grade oud truly precious indeed). But here's the thing about oud: it's been used in Arabian perfumes since the beginning of perfumery, but it's fairly new to the Western nose. I'm not used to it. It's sometimes rich and resinous and sometimes medicinal and, some claim, "band aid-y" (are those "plasters" in the UK?). And then there's the fact that oud just doesn't play nicely on my skin, turning shrill and astringent and simply Not Nice.

So, how would I fare when the master of natural perfumes, Mandy Aftel, turned her hand to the ingredient du jour?

Aftelier Perfumes launches Oud Luban Extrait Limited Edition
Featured Notes
Top: elemi, orange terpenes, blood orange, frankincense CO2.
Base: oud, opopanax, choya ral, benzoin, aged patchouli.

From the press release:
Agarwood (oud) [via]
Oud Luban Extrait is a perfume of great highs and lows, with no middle notes.  Luban, the Urdu word for frankincense, means  "the milk" which refers to the color of the finest quality frankincense – the milky tree sap that exudes from the cut bark. Oud, the dark, resinous and infected Aquilaria heartwood, is the most expensive essence in the world. To create the desired oud notes, eight different varieties are blended.
Oud Luban Extrait opens with the fresh citrus top notes of the finest hojari frankincense, coupled with sweet incense and resinous notes of elemi and luban.  This evolves onto the sweet balsamic notes of the faintly vanilla benzoin, the spicy balsamic opopanax, and the fine cognac-like notes of aged patchouli. Threading through the drydown, and softened by the resin, are the smoky choya ral and precious oud, which is intimate and softly animal like a lover's body. This perfume is perfect for layering with florals  -- the oud brings an earthy richness that allows the florals to bloom on the skin.  The Extrait version of Oud Luban is in an oil-base with no alcohol. Perfect for layering with florals -- the oud brings an earthy richness that allows the florals to bloom on the skin.
Oud Luban Extrait is available as a 1/4 oz. perfume ($195) and a 2 ml perfume mini  ($55), and a sample size ($6) at www.aftelier.com This is a special limited edition extrait verison of the solid perfume. Mandy Aftel is an award-winning all-natural perfumer and author.  She creates each extraordinary Aftelier Perfumes fragrance by hand in small batches in her Berkeley, California studio. 

Burning frankincense [via]
So, Oud Luban Extrait is an exclusive, limited edition perfume extrait rotating around highly rare and pricey ingredients including 8 (EIGHT!) ouds.


My instincts are buzzing. Those champagne tastes are kicking in. Need. NEED! But perhaps we should discuss whether I liked it or not, because YAY, I got to test this!

This perfume is a new version, an extrait, of her popular solid perfume Oud Luban. I have not had the pleasure of trying the solid. And to be honest, I was ok with that. Another oud that made my head ache? No thanks! But when Mandy blew my mind with that rose perfume I reviewed the other day (read my review of Aftelier's Wild Roses here), I realized I am never, ever going to say "no" to the opportunity to review something Mandy has created*. So when she offered to send me a sample of Oud Luban Extrait, I said yes!
*Except for a spearmint perfume. That's a no-compromise situation. 

My adorable and precious sample of Oud Luban Extrait!

The first test of Oud Luban Extrait was a tentative one. I tipped the little bottle onto one wrist, then the other - just a little dab in each place.

I held my breath and waited a moment, steeling my nerves.

I leaned in.


My eyes widened.



Oh. My.

This stuff is good.

Last month, I was lucky enough to spend a whole week wandering around  New York City. While my husband toiled all day in a conference, I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, wandered through SoHo, met lovely perfume friends, and sniffed through MiN, Bergdorf Goodman and Barney's (twice). Of all the wonderful (and not-so-wonderful!) smells I enjoyed that week the best was the Wicked Hot Chocolate I procured at Jacques Torres' chocolate shop in DUMBO. What? Just being honest!

The second best smell was found in Chinatown, and that's the scent memory that actually applies to this perfume review.

I was walking through the markets and open-front shops in Chinatown, looking at life through my camera view-finder, when suddenly I stopped. What was that smell? I sniffed deeply. I pulled the camera down and looked around. I inhaled again, slowly, breathing in something rich, earthy, dirty (like dirt, not as in sexy). I inhaled again. Oh, to bottle that! I quickly spied the source: bin upon bin of dried mushrooms. Big ones, small ones, fat ones, shriveled ones, grey ones, brown ones... their names hidden to me by Chinese characters on their signs. I sniffed again. Amazing. If only my pictures could do them justice!

This process repeated itself several times as I prowled the crowded streets. Every time I encountered the dried mushrooms - always noticing the scent before I saw them - I was struck with the need to inhale and take in that chewy, rich, pungent odor. And every time I wished I owned something that expressed a similar mood and depth and... earthiness.

Fast forward to my initial snuffles of Oud Luban. Is this a mushroom scent? No. It is, however, that mood I was trying to capture. It's rich. It's earthy. It's almost leathery, but not quite. You can easily imagine something dark and decayed, velvety, maybe the slightest bit spongey, crumbling softly in your hand as you bend over it. It smells of the forest floor itself, the nutrient-rich dirt and decay. A scent that seems Before Time.

Oud Luban is so completely natural, so beautifully blended. Not a single ingredient stands out. There's no sharp, shrill oud. The frankincense doesn't transport you to your cousin's Confirmation or Sunday Mass. This is olfactory soup, everything stirred and swirling, no specific ingredients to catch with the spoon - a new thing, comprised of a variety of ingredients but becoming something all together new. If pressed, I can probably point to oud, to patchouli, to something slightly vanilla... but I don't bother. I just let my senses blur as I sniff again.

The color of Oud Luban, the color I see in my head when I smell it, is a dark and rich brown. It's consistent in this shade, not changing as the scent wears. This is fitting. Oud Luban is "linear" - straightforward. It opens almost the way it closes, though the intensity changes as it dries and becomes part of the skin. It's soft, like a slow walk across a thick and mossy woods. It is a scent that would be kept secret - for you and those who lean in close. I found the wear exceptional - 6+ hours of earthy beauty holding steady just inches from the skin.

This is a oud perfume I like. Actually, it's one I love! A few hours after applying those tentative drops, I dumped a bunch more on my skin and started the whole earthy experience all over again. I believe you may love Oud Luban as well. If you have tried mushroom scents like Dawn Spencer Hurwitz's Cuir et Champignon and probably Mandy's own Cepes and Tuberose (I have not tried it), or even rich dirt scents like CB I Hate Perfume's Black March, you understand the mood and presence of this perfume. If you want singed nosehairs from your oud - heck, try this anyway. The softer side of oud may suit you, too.

Leave it to Mandy Aftel to create not only a oud perfume that works beautifully on my skin, but to blend one that stands out from the crowd of other oud-based perfumes. It's a unique take on a fairly familiar note, an interpretation that modernizes and Westernizes oud but still remains true oud's basic nature. According to Mandy, this scent performs beautifully as a base for floral perfumes. You know I'm trying it with Wild Roses, right? I'll report back!

I look forward to reading reviews of this scent by people who have tried Oud Luban in solid perfume form. I see that the citrus opening and the frankincense seem to be much more prominent that I found them in the extrait.

Let me know in the comments if you've tried Oud Luban in either form, if you like mushroom and earth scents in your perfumes, and what your favorite travel memory is! And then rush to Aftelier.com to purchase Oud Luban before it's gone...

photos are my own

Mandy Aftel's Wild Roses (new!) - A perfume review

I always get so ridiculously giddy when I know I'm getting to smell a new Aftelier product (or taste a new flavor, when it comes to Chef's Essences and teas). Perfumer Mandy Aftel is such a talented person with a true gift for capturing natural materials and lion-taming them, making them sit nice and proper-like or prodding them to growl and snarl! She can urge them into incredibly deep, complex, and wonderful configurations that simply blow my mind.

Mandy's newest scent came across my path recently, and my first thought was "oh no! a rose scent!". Said before in this space: I'm not a rose kinda gal. I love looking at them, but they belong in the garden or in a beautiful flower arrangement. I do not want them on my clothing or furniture, and I really don't want to smell like them. When I say that, what I really mean is that I do not want to smell like only rose. As Mandy so succinctly put it, "I have mixed emotions about rose perfumes". Yup - right from the perfumer's mouth. She has had her own issues with  rose scents herself and admitted to me that creating this one was "a bit of a struggle".

 Here's her concept (from her press release)...
Having grown roses in my garden for years, I was smitten with the unique beauty and great variety of rose aromas. I wanted to capture in perfume the experience of walking around my garden and smelling each rose, as their perfumes blended in my nose. Wild Roses perfume evokes the garden in our imagination and memory -- the book of a hundred petals unfolding: balsamic, spicy, apricot, and honeyed roses, mixed with the smell of warm earth and herbs. This is the rose that exists in your mind after you have smelled so many garden roses -- blush, ruby, canary, purple, crimson edged with brown, pure white, candy-cane striped -- that you feel intoxicated. 
Read that last bit again. "This is the rose that exists in your mind after you have smelled so many garden roses...that you feel intoxicated".

As they say, "NAILED IT".

Wild Roses
Top: rose CO2, heliotropin, bergamot, geraniol, m-methyl anthranilate, damascenone.
Heart: apricot, Turkish rose absolute, pimento berry, p-ethyl alcohol, rose petals attar. 
Base: tarragon absolute, vanilla absolute, indole, aged patchouli.
The apricot-rose heart is perfectly rooted in a base of tarragon absolute -- its herbal round anise aroma giving a nuance of both earth and leaves. The balsamic vanilla absolute and the whiskey-ness of aged patchouli support tarragon’s warm, powdery aspect. Indole contributes the almost animal aspect of ripeness in a rose. The heart is punctuated by pimento berry, lending its nuances of clove, ginger, and cinnamon. The candied-orange flower aroma of methyl methyl anthranilate, the soft powdery floral of heliotropin, and the slightly floral citrus of bergamot contribute a modern freshness to the opening.

These flaçons are accompanied by a 2 ml miniature screw-top bottle that can be filled with the included pipette for a portable version of your perfume.

Wild Roses opens strong, racing out of the bottle onto the skin and blooming immediately into the air around me. A seemingly frenzied swirl of sweet rose and rich spice swirls around. It quickly becomes clear, though, that this wild appearance is simply an act. Mandy's deft hand has created that delirious opening that so perfectly represents the "intoxicated" feeling she was trying to evoke. It may seem unrestrained, but there's structure and purpose in there - and that makes it all the more beautiful. 

Once I get my head around the roses, which only takes a moment or two, I realize how many different nuances are sparkling in the air. I smell anise. There's something sweetly candy-like. There are green herb-y flashes. I smell some rich, dirty patchouli that shifts between fresh earth and a little bit of naughtiness. There are spices -almost an all-spice kind of blend that doesn't allow me to pick each spice out individually but gives the impression of freshly a grated pie blend. There's a bit of vanilla, but it's not super-sweet. There's citrus and stone fruit, too, with an apricot-y impression being strong and fresh, evoking the feel juice dripping between my fingers and onto the rose blossoms below. Throughout the scent's dance, there is a distinct fleshiness and slightly naughty nuance (I blame those delicious indoles). 

Just as a dream constantly shifts and wiggles beneath our hands as we try to pin it down, I just can't get this scent to sit still - in a good way! Wild Roses is not a painting of a rose. It's a jazz piece written in celebration of roses. There is no scarlet, peach, yellow, pink - it's all of the colors at once, like a prism in a lightening storm. 

Wild Roses isn't so much that "rose that exists in my mind" as it is a rose garden that exists in my mind - a wild, overgrown thicket of glorious roses draped and twining together over the supports that used to keep them in order. And sometimes, that kind of all over the place wildness, however rooted in order it once was, is simply thrilling. 

Wild Roses lifts off of the skin beautifully, projects modestly, and lasts about 6 hours on my skin. It's beautiful and wild indeed, and I need a bottle. I need one! I never imagined I'd be so infatuated with a rose scent, but I can't stop spraying this and my little sample sprayer is quickly dwindling away. I need to replace it with a bigger bottle in an attempt to capture this wild dream and make it mine, all mine!*

I want to add a special "thank you" to Mandy Aftel not only for granting me the privilege of trying this scent, but for clearing up my confusion. I don't have mixed emotions about rose perfumes anymore. I don't love all rose perfumes, but I surely love Mandy's rose perfume! 

*OK. Yes, you can make it yours, too. I won't be greedy. 
For the record, I sampled the edp.
The perfume may just blow my mind into smithereens! 

This product was provided to me by the manufacturer or a representative thereof for consideration only. 
For more information on my review policies, please check this out.

By Kilian: Garden of Good and Evil - buy a vat!

By now, most of you have heard of By Kilian's newest trio of scents, In The Garden of Good and Evil

In case you haven't, here's the quick rundown:

In the Garden of Good and Evil 
For Kilian, an olfactive harmony always begins with a story. In this new collection, it is the myth of original sin which is found at the heart of the narrative - a classical theme whose interpretations punctuate art in all of its forms. Here, the world of perfume enters into the garden of Eden and shows us another side of the story, leading us away from the well-known representations and allowing us to understand it now by breathing in its delights. 
A collection as a promise of forbidden pleasure. A collection that invites us to succumb to our most secret desires, breaking through time back to the entrance in the garden of Eden. An entrance which begins by a rendezvous in The City of Sin, the beginning of a forbidden passage, the place of shadowy sensory delights that tantalizes and seduces us in the Kilian collections.

The scents
  • Forbidden Games
    FORBIDDEN GAMES, literally. FORBIDDEN GAMES embodies the spirit of a temptation that leads to total abandon.

    FORBIDDEN GAMES is a composition of fruits and spices, flowers and amber; A nectar of fruits prohibited to mortals.

    The perfume opens on a potpourri of fruits – Apple, Peach, Plum – spiced by Cinnamon bark from Laos. Then the perfume advances into a lush, exuberant floral heart – Bulgarian Rose Orpur, Geranium Bourbon, and Midnight Jasmine – before disappearing slowly into a sweet confection of Madagascar Vanilla, Laotian Honey and the spellbinding resinous oil of Opoponax.

    FORBIDDEN GAMES: when going beyond the boundaries has never been so exciting.

    Notes: Apple, peach, plum, cinnamon, Bulgarian rose, geranium bourbon, jasmine, vanilla, honey, opoponax

  • Good Girl Gone Bad
    GOOD GIRL GONE BAD typifies a special sort of woman. A perfume that represents a kind of voluptuousness beloved by Kilian : sensual and unrestrained. A woman who is game for anything in the world of love, of desire, of naughtiness.

    GOOD GIRL GONE BAD is a composition of fruits and flowers, a perfume as bewitching as bursts of laughter, a barrier moved beyond, a forgotten prohibition.

    The perfume opens on the fresh innocence of the petals of Jasmin Sambac and the apricot sweetness of Chinese Osmanthus. But that feminine ideal does not continue to fool anyone for long. Letting go of their demure appearances, the flowers toss off their inhibitions and reveal the other, decadent side of themselves. The Rose of May gives off its honeyed heat. The Indian Tuberose nakedly exhibits its milky roundness, while the narcotic sensuality of Egyptian Narcissus surges forth, uncontrollable and deliciously haunting. Notes of Virginia Cedar and Amber open up and try to assert their dominant character In order to contain that outpouring of opulence, but they never succeed in taming it completely. The tension is palpable; the addiction exacerbated; the pleasure consummated.

    GOOD GIRL GONE BAD, when the woman become a temptress, a sinner - when she dares and when she proves her audacity.

    Notes: Jasmin Sambac, osmanthus, rose, tuberose, narcissus, violet accord, plum accord, cedar wood, amber, patchouli, vetiver, musk

  • In The City of Sin
    IN THE CITY OF SIN, a perfume as the opening face of the collection. IN THE CITY OF SIN, a place of extreme temptation where every street corner offers the possibility of impromptu encounters and seductions. IN THE CITY OF SIN embodies the temptation which leads to carnal desire.

    IN THE CITY OF SIN is a rich composition of fruits and spices, flowers and woods, in which the essence of fruit liquefies and melts onto the heady woods. The perfume opens with an explosion of Bergamote from Calabria, pink Peppercorns and Cardamom from Guatamala. The perfume then evolves into a heart of Apricots and caramelized Plums held in check by the Turkish Rose Absolute. A light haze of Indonesian Incense entrances and then lends a profound depth, further sustained by Atlas and Virginia Cedar woods and rich Indonesian Patchouli.

    IN THE CITY OF SIN, when the door opens onto a universe without limits: the quest for ecstasy is launched.

    Notes: Bergamote, pink peppercorn, cardamom, apricot, plum, rose absolute, incense, cedar wood, patchouli, white musk accord

Each scent is marked at $245 on Luckyscent. They're taking pre-sales as are Saks and Bergdorf Goodman and all the usual By Kilian retail suspects. The bottle comes with a white bottle case / clutch with a gold snake twisted around it.

I have samples of all three of the scents and have worn two of the several times. I definitely have a favorite (so far), but more about that in a minute. I do plan on reviewing all three soon.

*You, too,  can get samples of new releases by the By Kilian line
by joining the By Kilian Club on Facebook

So there's the scoop on the In the Garden of Good and Evil collection.

But wait! There's more! 

Take a look at the amazing perfume fountains available for this collection! 
Dazzling white and featuring the lovely golden snake that symbolized The Garden of Good and Evil, it houses a full liter of perfume!

There are only SIX in the world and retail for $2700.

Amazingly decadent, right?! I think anyone organizing a split would be rewarded handsomely by getting to keep that baby on their nightstand. I can't even imagine having one full one for myself. Swoon!

They are simply amazing. The lovely Eva at Bergdorf Goodman (in New York, natch!) showed me this beauty while I was in visiting two weeks ago. She took a picture of the flyer for me (shown below).

If anyone out there falls for the honeyed fruits of Forbidden Games, the heady dazzle of Good Girl Gone Bad, or the spicy seduction of In the City of Sin, and wants to order a fountain (or a bottle!), please call Eva at 212-872-2658 - and mention me! And then please come back and let me know what you picked.

If you were buying a fountain of any By Kilian scents, which would you pick? 
I'd definitely get Amber Oud and Good Girl Gone Bad. And maybe Incense Oud. Hey, if we're dreaming, I can afford two or three, right?! 

Now that I've been in perfume land for a few years, I really need to go back and revisit the L’Oeuvre Noire Collection and see which I fall for. 

Scent descriptions and images (except of fountain) courtesy of Luckyscent,
who will also be selling these perfumes, albeit not the fountains! 

Lisa Hoffman Beauty: Madagascar Orchid. The velour pants of perfumery.

Sometimes you just need a hug. And sometimes a perfume doesn't have to be groundbreaking and blow your mind with its weirdness. Sometimes it's enough to just be good and comfy. Lisa Hoffman Beauty's Madagascar Orchid is such a scent to me.

Obtaining this perfume to try was a trial. The PR folks who sent it to me are lovely (this is no PR rant!), but somehow my address was input incorrectly and the package never came - in fact it went elsewhere, got turned away, and was eventually returned to the sender, damaged. Oy. Then, when I got this lovely bottle on the second try, I was thrilled--- however, I thought I was testing Lisa Hoffman Beauty's fragrance jewelry, which looks really interesting. Instead, I have a bottle of the (liquid) edp.

So... since I thought the fragrance jewelry concept was cool, and I thought that was what I was going to be reviewing here, I'll talk about it briefly, then tell you my impressions of Madagascar Orchid edp. Sound good? Well, then let's dive in...

Fragrance Jewelry"It's perfume. We just reinvented the packaging."

This clever idea consists of some pretty, very wearable jewelry. The bracelets, necklaces, and earrings are all outfitted with scented beads which emit their fragrance without touching the skin. Since it's jewelry, you can simply slip it off if you find yourself in a situation where perfume is inappropriate - or if you just desire a scent change.

A round filigreed "cage" charm holds the small round beads which, by the way, you can order as refills when the scent of the original beads fade (each product comes with some extra, btw). The bracelets are composed of round beads with accents in metals and a pop of color  (the type of bead varies, depending on the fragrance you select). The charm hangs off the bracelet allowing your scent to waft as you move your hands. For the necklaces, the charm hangs on a 22-inch bead chain. The earrings are hoop-and-post style that dangle the charms nicely - not too long! - and are perhaps the version that most intrigue me, though they all appeal. 

This system, with its "proprietary bead-scenting technology", really interests me thanks to its apparent versatility and because it seems like it would allow women with contact-allergies to wear perfume without issue. Clearly, women who are allergic to smelling perfume will likely still have issues, but we can't solve all of the world's problems in a day, can we?

For me, the downside to this system, and perhaps a deliberate marketing manipulation, is that the charms themselves come in pre-arranged scent + jewelry combos. In other words, if you buy Tunisian Neroli, the jewelry is gold-plated. Like Tuscan Fig? Your jewelry will be rose gold-plated. Madagascar Orchid equals "brushed gold-plated", Japanese Agarwood is antiqued bronze-plated, and French Clary Sage is an oxidized silver tone (plated). Seeing how I don't wear yellow metals (they make me look sickly), I could be "stuck" purchasing a scent that might not be my first choice ($65 for each jewelry style), dumping out the beads, and buying the refill scent beads at $20 a pop - all just to have the color and scent combo I prefer. That, to me, is unacceptable. I would think selecting the charm color would be easy enough for Lisa Hoffman Beauty's website to manage (hello dropdown menu) and for their order fulfillment to handle (grab box of the right type of jewelry in the right color, grab box of scent balls - voila!) (hehe, I said "scent balls")

Anyway, the idea is great, if incomplete. Wish I could tell you how they waft, but I can't. So let's get back to what I can describe...

Madagascar Orchid edp
Available in an edp spray ($65),
2 vials of perfumed oil ($55),
bath and body products
and, of course, the jewelry.
Let's get back to that "cozy" concept, shall we? I mean, I don't know about you but after the stress of the missing and delayed package and the strain of the jewelry metal selection process (or lack thereof), I need some cozy up in here! Luckily, Madagascar Orchid delivers. 

The soft, sensual notes of Madagascar Orchid inspire feelings of romance, femininity, and true love. A modern bouquet of Sheer Jasmine, Ylang Dew, Mimosa Mood & Pink Peony perfectly frame the exotic, unforgettable aroma of Madagascar Orchid.

Here's the big selling point on this scent: the thought-to-be-scentless Madagascar Orchid actually does have a scent! Luckily, the folks who make Lisa Hoffman Beauty's perfumes (OK - chemists who work for the perfumery) were able to capture the scent, released "just before the break of dawn", by hovering over the jungle tree canopy in a blimp. This process of catching the scent is called "headspace technology" and it has enabled chemists to "capture, analyse and reconstitute the plant odour molecules into ‘living' replicas of the previously unobtainable oils"[1]  without damaging the plant, which in some cases might be endangered, and in others might not stand up to normal perfume processing.

Madagascar Orchids

So Madagascar Orchid resembles the plant of the same name*. Ostensibly. I have to believe them, having never been in Madagascar (though the film is a trip, no?).

To me, Madagascar Orchid is a soft, fuzzy thing that reminds me of my favorite lazing-around-the-house pants. Yes, I wear velour sweats. What? 

When you tell me there's jasmine, ylang ylang ("dew"), mimosa ("mood") and peony in there, I nod in agreement. Yup, there is. I can smell them all. But the overall impression is a soft blend of all of these flowers, with none standing out in particular. Madagascar Orchid is gentle, fairly light, and very cuddly. I can't imagine a situation where it would offend - unless you're with someone who is enraged by soft perfumes! I have put it on my daughters without worrying that it was "too old", yet it's not childish. It's simply pretty and comfy.

By the way, each time I spray this I get the slightest "suntan lotion" vibe. It's just a hint, but it's there. Fair warning.

Madagascar Orchid isn't particularly long-lasting on me (I get maybe 4 hours of cuddling), but that kind of suits me well. After that length of time, I'm ready for a bit more spice or pizzazz. But if I still need more comforting, I can respritz without fear. I imagine it's impossible to overdose on this perfume!

All in all, I'm glad to have Madagascar Orchid in ye olde arsenal. It's going to come in handy a lot, bringing comfort like my favorite pair of velour pants. (Stop judging me!)

Now, if only I had some pretty jewelry to wear with those pants...

See? I told you. Cuddly!

This product was provided to me by the manufacturer or a representative thereof for consideration only. 

For more information on my review policies, please check this out

Devilscent: Lilith - A Quantum Demonology Scent by Neil Morris --- Thorny Business

[header art -beautiful isn't it? - by Robynn L.Gardner]

Do you remember me introducing The Devilscent Project awhile back? It's collection of amazing perfumes created by Primeval Forces of Perfume* (read: really amazingly talented perfumers) in celebration of the book Quantum Demonology, by my dear friend, Sheila Eggenberger.

(Seriously, if you don't remember you're going to need to take a stop here -
at my introduction to The Devilscent Project - everything is explained there!)

*The Primeval Forces participating in this project are all named here.

Well, today I'm kicking off my reviews of the scents created for this amazing and one-of-a-kind project. I have taken a hiatus from writing for personal reasons, but I'm thrilled to jump back in to writing about perfume by literally, without looking, sticking my hand in the bag holding all of my samples submitted by the Primeval Forces and coming up with one of my favorites: Lilith by Neil Morris. Huzzah! And so we begin...

Lilith, for those of you new to The Devilscent Project and the yet-to-be-but-certain-to-be-published book Quantum Demonology, is the wife of The Devil  (aka Satan, Lucifer, The Father of Lies, and so forth and so on) who is known by our unnamed heroine and protagonist simply as Dev. 

As our story progresses and the relationship between our heroine and Dev progresses, things get a little... complicated. OK, you probably assumed (correctly) that a relationship with the devil would be complicated anyway, but factor in his angry and jealous estranged-wife, Lilith, Queen of the Succubi, and we're really talking about a mess! 
"Lilith paced the floor in front of my chair and thought out loud, but I had already tuned her out. Four thousand years of marriage will do that. As she kept talking and pacing, I simply sat back and watcher her, watched that long, leggy stride eat up the rug in six steps, watcher her turn as elegantly as any runway model, blonde hair swinging, and pace back again. She was flawless. Flawlessly beautiful in that twenty-first century porn-star way that left no room for imperfections or doubts, and flawless bored me.
-Dev,  Quantum Demonology

Perfumer Neil Morris (Neil Morris Fragrances), has a devoted following of well-scented enthusiasts. There are plenty of reasons for that, including his skill with materials and beautiful perfumes (obviously) and also his reportedly gentle, kind, and friendly demeanor. That he can create a scent for The Queen of the Succubi is pretty impressive. In fact, he has created a small library of scents that really bring out the nuances of the book, Quantum Demonology. We'll get to the rest of them over the next few weeks, but my favorite (at least today) is this one, Lilith.

Like our Dev, the ultimate trickster, Neil has gotten a little tricksy with his participation in this project. He hasn't provided the reviewers with a list of notes for any of his submissions for Devilscent. So I'm flying blind, olfactorily speaking, and we know I'm terribly new and not-so-great at that. But we'll give it a go. My best hope is to describe the feeling and mood of this perfume**.

"Like her husband, she emanated a scent, and like her husband it was as unusual as it was distinctive. Floral and green, heady and earthy, with musky overtones and something else, something that smelled - poisonous, even tainted. It was very erotic and very domineering, cracking an olfactory whip at my nose."
- Quantum Demonology

[image source]
When I apply Lilith, I get a pretty, fairly feminine vibe. There are possibly some citrus notes, perhaps paired with stone fruit like peach, but only a hint. The opening is not bright and shiny, but more... velvety. It doesn't take long for a floral nuance to come to the fore. I get rose, but I'm not sure what else. Maybe a little lily, possibly a subtle touch of jasmine. Lilith has a garden-fresh greenness that, at some points is fresh and welcoming, like Spring, and at other points is just slightly more bitter. There's some muskiness in there that adds an earthy femininity without becoming a skank-bomb. The rose here is pink at first, innocent and flirtatious, but it deepens when you're not paying attention and become a sexy, rich red rose.

Neil Morris' Lilith is smooth and beautiful. She's mature but not cold and withdrawn. In fact, she's quite the opposite! She's welcoming... beckoning. Comely. She lures you in with her beautiful, soft, feminine wiles. But watch out: there's some bite in there! This rose has thorns.

She wanders about at night, vexing the sons of men and causing them to defile themselves -Zohar

From time to time, when I lean in close, I pick up some undercurrent that I can't quite pinpoint. It's the slightest bit metallic, or maybe a touch mineral in flavor. It gives Lilith a subtle edge. A warning, perhaps?

This seems incredibly appropriate, considering the perfume is a tribute to a gorgeous, stunning blonde woman who would just as soon kill you as romance you. Quantum Demonology's Lilith is a villainess for the ages, quite literally, as her marriage to Dev has rendered this once-human woman immortal. (Or is she?)  She woos men and women alike with her apparent wholesome good looks, and when they move in closely she happily makes her move. Whether that move is sexual or murderous depends on her whim. Lilith, the perfume, is equally two-faced and tricky. At first blush she's a typically pretty floral perfume, though clearly well-crafted. But this perfume is more. So much more. She's a beautiful date perfume, but maybe best saved for that third date!

"Lilith has it in for you, and you have no idea how dangerous Lilith is when she's pissed off."
- Dev to our protagonist, Quantum Demonology

I imagine this Lilith is quite the compliment-getter for everyone who wears it. I know that's proven true for me! But beware he who leans in too close...

Here's the sad news: this scent doesn't appear on Neil Morris Fragrances' site for sale. Maybe if we complain loudly enough this gentle gentleman will relent and sell us some?

**I read Quantum Demonology months ago, in the Spring. 
My memory is not exactly "photgraphic" and
 I'd forgotten what Sheila's description of Lilith's scent was.
 After I wrote my review today, I pulled the book up on my
 iPad Kindle app and found the description above. 
Whoa. Neil did great! What a hit the nail on the head move!

It's probably also worth noting that I do not usually
fall head-over-heels for rose-centric scents,
but this is the second rose perfume from Neil Morris Fragrances
that I have loved mightily, the first being Rose of Kali!

A note from Neil Morris:
"YES! We will be listing all the DevilScents for purchase on our site soon. In the meantime, anyone who'd like a bottle of LILITH - or any other non-listed perfume - can order ANY VAULT perfume and in the comments section at checkout, simply tell us you really want LILITH (or whatever you've chosen). That's it!" 

Also: Neil shared with me the notes list. No, greedy birdies, I am not sharing his secret, yet... When he and Sheila tell me it's ok - that is IF he and Sheila tell me it's ok - then I will share them with you. But not a minute sooner. ;)

Shedding light on Bond No. 9's racial discrimination - $3 million lawsuit filed against Laurice Rahme

"We need the light bulbs changed."

Many retail businesses have code words and phrases to subtly pass messages between employees. I worked for Nordstrom, perhaps the ruling king of this practice! Softly spoken codes would alert people that paychecks were ready and hushed voices whispered names that were pretty unintelligible to anyone but coworkers, alerting them to calls holding on the phone. Codes and quietly used key phrases keep business moving smoothly without upsetting the customers. Nothing must impinge on the customer's impulse to shop! Other businesses where I've been employed have had code words used before the store closes, to notify key staff about the arrival of the guy who empties the safe for transport to the bank, for someone in a specific position needing to step away for a smoke potty break, and for suspicious characters moving through the store. 

Laurice Rahme, owner and CEO of Bond No. 9, admits that the phrase above, "we need the lightbulbs changed", was used in her retail store to denote the presence of a potential shoplifter or otherwise unwanted customer.

When your stock consists of high-priced items that could be easily stuffed in a handbag or pocket, this code makes a lot of sense. A candle at Bond No. 9 costs $140 and the Swarovski-encrusted perfume bottles are markedly more expensive. 

However, two former Bond No. 9 employees have said that this code phrase is the tip of a nasty iceberg and that Bond No. 9, at the direction of Rahme, had a distinct "pattern of racism against customers and employees."  Veronica Robledo and Karin Widmann claim that security was notified every time a dark-complected customer entered the shop and that Rahme referred to African-Americans as "thieves". Robledo, a beautiful dark-skinned Puerto Rican woman, even said she was not "allowed" to wait on white customers and felt enough pressure that she made her Jamaican boyfriend hide from Rahme.  

Robledo and Widmann filed a federal lawsuit against Rahme, claiming that she violated their civil rights. They filed for $3 million in damages, saying that in February, when they complained to Rahme about her practices, she fired them and accused them of stealing $25,000 worth of stock. 

The women did also file a complaint with the NY State Division on Human Rights, but that complaint has since been dismissed as there is a prohibition against filing a complaint and a lawsuit simultaneously. 

According to the article on NYDailyNews.com, Rahme has employed the oft-used tactic of referencing "a black boyfriend" from the past to somehow prove she's not prejudiced. Regardless of her romantic history, if Robledo and Widmann's claim is true then Rahme is at the very least guilty of retail racial profiling - and at the most of severe discrimination. For what it's worth, whispers in the perfume community seem to validate Robledo and Widmann's claims.

It's worth noting that Rahme has drawn heat from perfumistas and the media in the past. Claims that she bastardized Creed scents in her own Bond No. 9 line (Creed being her former employer), that she has bullied smaller perfume houses over scent names (ironically claiming some kind of ownership over the word "peace" in perfume names), that she and her PR team aggressively confront bloggers who speak in less-than-glowing terms about Bond No. 9, and stories of Rahme generally behaving in a non-compromising, sometimes brutal manner, have long been discussed in perfume circles and by people who encounter Rahme through her business ventures. 

It will be interesting to see how this pans out. In my experience, when there's a lot of talk from all directions, there's usually reason for it. "Where there's, smoke there's fire". Maybe it's time those lightbulbs were replaced and finally some light was shed on Rahme's business practices...

Meeting the Devil: The Devilscent Project / #devilscent

What if all those rock’n'roll clichés were true?
What if Faust were a woman in her forties with nothing to lose?
What if God and the Devil, Heaven and Hell
were very different from what we’ve always thought?

It's time for another project introduction. This one is radically different from the Primordial Scents project unveiled the other day, though. Where that project is uplifting and expansive and seeks to shine forth the light, this one digs into the darkest dark. Where that one is about love, this one... well, it's also about love.

Today, I want to introduce you to the devil himself!

Our devil or, as we'll be calling him going forward, Dev, is one of the unlikely heroes in a book written by my friend Sheila Eggenberger, aka Tarleisio of The Alembicated Genie. A perfume lover, Sheila has folded scent into her brilliant yet-to-be-published novel, Quantum Demonology.

In the book, we join our unnamed protagonist on the cusp of making a deal with Dev, à la Faust. We watch as their relationship develops, as Dev's estranged wife Lilith gets murderously jealous, and as our heroine navigates the waters of love, passion, dreams, friendship, fear, nightmares, literary agents, middle age, promises, rewards, and heavy metal music. She travels between Copenhagen & New York, Heaven & Hell, the last two quite literally. She meets St Peter, God, and a cast of characters from both the heavenly realm and the underworld - and I'm not just talking about Denmark's metal clubs. One thing some of these otherworldly characters have in common is the curious habit of resembling infamous Primal Forces of rock (coming to a concert hall near you?).

I am supremely confident that Quantum Demonology will find a publisher, but meanwhile we can be entertained by a perfume project built around the book. Clever, right?!

Create a scent for Dev. And maybe one for Lilith.
That's the challenge issued to perfumers Ellen Covey ("Doc Elly") of Olympic Orchids, Kedra Hart of Opus Oils, Neil Morris of Neil Morris Fragrances, Amandal Feeley of Escentual Alchemy, Alexis Karl of Scents by Alexis and Cherry Bomb Killer Perfumes, and Maria McElroy of Aroma M and Cherry Bomb Killer PerfumesKatlyn Breene of Mermade Magickal Arts has also contributed an incense based on Dev. How fitting! And Monica Miller of  Perfume Pharmer has created a perfumed massage bar.

Through the book, we know sort of how these characters smell (and we get glimpses into the protagonist's perfume wardrobe throughout the story). Through this project we get to experience them in person, as viewed through the creative minds of these incredible perfumers. What a treat for perfume fans who love to read! It has made me wish I could smell scents based on a lot of other books. Wouldn't that be cool? But for now, we focus on Quantum Demonology, the Devil, and his bitch of a wife.

Take a look at the brief Sheila -or Dev?!- created for the contributing perfumers (emphasis mine):

I need a perfume.  Perfume is one of the things she lives for, one of the reasons she loves to breathe. I want it to be unlike anything you've ever made. I want it to be dark, bitter, otherworldly. A lot of base, a lot of bass. I want it to unnerve and surprise her. I want her to say 'yes'. I want you to think for a moment about ‘sin’. Think about something…forbidden, something taboo. 
Something subversive, which makes it seductive and alluring, almost by default. What is the ultimate human taboo in terms of scent? It’s your ultimate dirty secret, the very secret you use your perfumes to conceal and hide or on the other hand, accentuate:You’re animals underneath it all. With animal appetites, animal urges you try to ignore, suppress, hide and deny at your peril. Or animal appetites you want to advertise, just not in so many words. The very kind I embody, or so you think. What would I be as a human animal? I’m the Devil, so they’ve said. Neither animal nor human but a combination of both, just enough of each of them to be dangerous, and that’s the whole idea. Danger. I want her to be able to know exactly who I am by her sense of smell alone. 
The devil's brew?
So – the perfume. Now, I love frankincense, I love it for that sense of sanctity it implies, for that mood of contemplation it creates. I love it because it’s outside of time, just like me. Boswellia neglecta, and a touch of Boswellia serrata, too, and labdanum. Labdanum is a note she loves, labdanum is animal and sexy and slightly goatish. Perfect. She loves galbanum and cinnamon leaf. Castoreum? Civet? Civet is sweeter and sexier than musk I’ve always thought, but that’s your business, to think this out for me. Dangerous, remember? This is part of my bait, the part of my bait that I hope she bites. I have a feeling that she will surprise me, and trust me, not too much does any more. 
I want you, my chosen perfumers, to surprise me. Think dark, think sacred, think bitter, think…just the slightest bit overpowering, the kind that breaks down resistance. The kind that will make her take the bait. I told you. I want her to say ‘yes’. I want you to create a perfume for me that makes sure she does. Are you up to that challenge? Do you think you can do it? Do you think you can surprise me, too? 
I’ll be in touch later. Let me see if you can do it. I think you might. I like surprises. They come with the job description!

So, what do you think? What would Dev smell like? And what would his bitter wife, Queen of the Succubi, wear? 

Tomorrow, I'll be introducing you to some scents from this project. Meanwhile, here are some resources for your perusal since I know you're devilishly curious about Quantum Demonology, aren't you?

You can also visit these bloggers to see their coverage of the project:

Until tomorrow!

The Power of Perfume: An Introduction to the Primordial Scents Project as hosted by Monica Miller - Perfume Pharmer

Every day we warm ourselves by Fire,
Wash ourselves in Water,
Feel the Wind in our hair,
Walk upon the Earth.

The Power of Perfume: 

An Introduction to the Primordial Scents Project

 as hosted by Monica Miller - Perfume Pharmer

It all started at the beginning. And at the beginning there was air, fire, water, and earth. The final spark was found inside. Aether. Also known as spirit. The flame inside. It came into being only when the others were all present.

Sacred Flame                               [via]    

Planting the Seed.

This year, the most amazing project is pulling together. The building blocks are, in part, those that form the universe. The building blocks are exquisite perfumes based on the original building blocks: the four - no, five! - elements. They are talented perfumers working in a variety of materials - some all-natural, some not. They are gifted perfume writers, sniffing the creations and making an offering of words. They are dreams from the minds of creative people all over the world and, especially, the dream of one woman on an island off of Massachusetts.


The foundation for this project was laid by Monica Miller. You may remember her from last year's group blogging project, The Summer of Patchouli Love. Or maybe you've run into her on Martha's Vineyard. Or you've picked up one of her brilliant Skye Botanicals products - was it her much beloved Fuzzy Blue Blanket perfume or some of her delectable skincare? Maybe you have read about her here or elsewhere when people raved about her collaborative strawberry scent. Or perhaps you're a huge fan of her website Perfume Pharmer.

Well, somehow as busy as she is, Monica finds time to read and think and dream and plan. Monica took to heart thoughts from a book written by Starhawk, a writer and activist known for her importance to the neo-paganism and ecofeminist movements. The Fifth Sacred Thing is a novel that proposes a utopian society that happily exists using sustainable methods (read more here). Inspired by this and other influences, Monica rearranged her focus in life and launched into, among other things, investigating permaculture and dedicating herself to inspiring others to work towards that sustainable utopia. In her words after "some serious soul searching I took a different turn from the notion of using my energy primarily to advance my personal career to ponder the question 'what do I hold most sacred, what should I dedicate my time on Earth to?' "

And so, as part of her process, the Primordial Scents Project was formed. She has gathered a group of perfumers from all over the world who have spent the last year creating scents inspired by the elements, including the fifth element proposed by Starhawk: spirit. The focus for the project is on the primordial beginnings, the inner workings of... everything. In Monica's words, "For the purposes of this project, Primordial to me means original material...going back to the ELEMENTS that make up our planet, our bodies, our selves. What are we made of physically and spiritually? What do we hold most sacred?"
Declaration of the Four Sacred Things 
The Earth is a living, conscious being. In company with cultures of many different times and places, we name these things as sacred: air, fire, water, and earth. 
Whether we see them as the breath, energy, blood, and body of the Mother, or as the blessed gifts of a Creator, or as symbols of interconnected systems that sustain life, we know that nothing can live without them.
To call these things sacred is to say that they have a value beyond their usefulness for human ends, that they themselves become the standard by which our acts, our economics, our laws, and our purposes must be judged. No one has the right to appropriate them or profit from them at the expense of others. Any government that fails to protect them forfeits its legitimacy. 
All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance; only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity. 
To honor the sacred is to create conditions in which nourishment, sustenance, habitat, knowledge, freedom, and beauty can thrive. To honor the sacred is to make love possible. 
To this we dedicate our curiosity, our will, our courage, our silences, and our voices. To this we dedicate our lives. 

If the elements are indeed, as the ancients thought, the building blocks of the universe and of human beings themselves, how much power do those elements have? How much power can be obtained - how much personal power can be obtained - when we channel the elements, when we work with them, using them for balance?

The elements are heavy with symbolism. I asked Monica to explain the elements to me and here is what she described...
Goddesses of the Elements              [via]
AIR ~ Air represents the mind and intelligence, communication, telepathy, psychic powers, inspiration, imagination, ideas, knowledge, dreams and wishes. Air also rules visualization. 
FIRE ~ Fire represents energy, inspiration, love, passion, leadership. Fire is also the element of magic and change. 
WATER ~ Water represents emotions, absorption, subconscious, purification, eternal movement, wisdom, the soul, emotional aspects of love and gender. 
EARTH/METAL ~ Earth represents strength, abundance, stability, prosperity, wealth and fertility. 
SPIRIT ~ Aether (also called Spirit) is the prime element present in all things, providing space, connection and balance for all Elements to exist. Aether is immaterial unlike the Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Aether is essential to our sense of connectedness with spirit and well-being. Aether represents the sense of joy and union.
Ideally, one seeks balance in life. Too much of one thing is not a good thing. Monica proposes that we try using the elements as a guide in the hopes of correcting imbalance. The perfumes created in this project were created with intention: they are meant to be an aid to finding balance using the elements as inspiration.

For example, should I find myself lacking in passion for my job, perhaps I need more fire. Reaching for a scent based on that element may help restore that balance by adding a spark - giving me that verve and passion I am lacking. Another example: maybe I am suffering from some financial instability. Earth/Metal governs this area and a scent based on that element may help me find balance and discover a way to smooth out those rocky roads. My restless nature may be soothed by Earth scents as well, while I may benefit greatly from Spirit scents during meditation.

So Monica envisions change through scent. And she has an army behind her.

Then again, maybe one wants to take the scents at face value and sniff them for the usual reasons: the notes sound interesting, the scent puts a spring in the step, it garners compliments, and it just makes you feel good. That works, too! If the concept of the elements doesn't resonate with you, I still encourage you to keep an open mind and follow along with us as we explore this project. In the end, perfume is what you make of it!
Balance                                    [via]
The concept of these Primordial Scents has grown and morphed and become even larger than Monica had even dreamed, I am willing to wager. Many seem moved by the project's concept not just on an intellectual level, as an exercise in perfumery, but also on a more organic and profound level. Friends contacted each other, the list of participants grew, and the soft murmur of the project's inception became a much louder buzz.

The roster for the project reads like a Who's Who of Perfumery. And when I say this project's reach is world-wide, I mean it!  Emma Leah is contributing to the project from Australia, Juan Perez is sending fragrant magic from Puerto Rico, Tanja Bochnig calls Berlin home, several Canadians are participating, and Americans from both coasts and quite a few cities in between will be represented, too. And that's just the perfumers! Articles about the project will be penned all over the world: the thread starts with Sheila Eggenberger in Denmark, wraps through Austria and the able hands of Birgit Oeckher, and hops the Atlantic to then dance all across North America.

The Perfumers
Amanda Feeley (Esscentual Alchemy) - AIR & EARTH
Ane Walsh (Ane Walsh) - BEACH/WATER
Anita Kalnay (Flying Colors Natural Perfumes) - SPACE/ ETHER
Anu Prestonia (Anu Essentials)- WATER
Bruce Bolmes (SMK Fragrances - website comings soon) - METAL
Dabney Rose (Dabney Rose) - FIRE
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (Perfums des Beaux Arts / Essence Studio)- ETHER/SPACE
Emma Leah (Fleurage Perfume Atelier)  - METAL
Jane Cate (A Wing & A Prayer) - FIRE
Juan M. Perez (Exotic Island Aromatics)- FIRE & EARTH
Justine Crane (The Scented Djinn) - EARTH
Katlyn Breene (Mermade Magickal Arts) -FIRE
Kedra Hart (Opus Oils) - EARTH
Kirsten Schilling (Arabesque Aromas) - ETHER/ Space
Laurie Stern (Velvet and Sweet Pea) - AIR
Lisa Abdul-Quddus (Blossoming Tree Bodycare) - METAL
Lyn Ayre (Coeur d’Esprit Natural Perfumes ) - ETHER
Mandy Aftel (Aftelier Perfumes) - WATER
Maria Mcelroy (Aroma M) and Alexis Karl - FIRE
Marian Del Vecchio - FIRE 
Michael Storer (Michael Storer Perfumes)- AIR & EARTH
Neil Morris (Neil Morris Fragrances) - AIR
Shelley Waddington (EnVoyage Perfumes) - ETHER/SPACE, FIRE & WATER 
Suzy Larsen (Naked Leaf Perfumes) - AIR
Tanja Bochnig (April Aromatics) - AIR, EARTH, ETHER
Note: the links provided show the perfumer's websites and,
 when provided, a Facebook page dedicated to that
perfumer's offering for the Primordial Scents Project.
To access those FB pages, use the link associated
with the perfumer's chosen element(s)

The sniffers and writers
Beth Schreibman Gehring - Perfume Smellin' ThingsThe Perfume Magazine
Birgit Oeckher - Olfactoria's Travels
Carlos Powell - artist, perfumista, Patch Test Bunny
Diana Wiener Rosengard - Feminine Things
Donna Hathaway - Portland Fragrance Examiner
Elaine Jaune - perfumista
Elena Knezevic - EIC, Fragrantica
Gaia Fishler - The Non-Blonde
Ida Meister - Chaya RuchamaFragrantica
Jade Dressler -  www.jadedressler.wordpress.com 
Jodi Battershell Fragrantica
Josie Alycia Plumey - Beauty, Bacon, Bunnies
Lucy Raubertas - Indie Perfumes 
Margi Macdonald - writer
Marlen Elliot Harrison - The Perfume Critic
Naheed Shoukat AliFragrantica
Nava Brahe - perfumista, writer
Rochette Withers - perfumista, writer
Scent Scelf - Notes from the Ledge
Sheila Eggenberger - The Alembicated Genie
Stevie Wilson - LA Story
Victoria Jent - EauMG
Zoran Knezevic Fragrantica 

Monica herself will be sharing a very special scent she has worked on and will be writing plenty, too, as the project evolves. And the surprises don't stop there - I haven't even mentioned The Traveling Perfume. Stay tuned for more on that!
Follow general developments and thoughts share by Monica on the Primordial Scents Project page on Facebook and on Perfume Pharmer, Monica's blog

Mother Earth                                                                                          [via]
Igor Drandic Photographic Art
It seems the participants identified quite deeply with Monica's ideas. As she so rightly said, "we have to stay positive and dedicate ourselves to the good- for our children/planetary children and for ourselves. We cannot wallow in self pity/ delusion or allow ourselves to believe there is nothing we can do. We can ALL do something, no matter how small."

How large can a small vial of perfume really be? Follow along with the Primordial Scents Project and find out!