Cocoa Sandalwood is the other offering in Sonoma Naturals' new line of all-natural fine fragrances. Surprisingly, the choice of sandalwood here is not the creamy Mysore sandalwood (which made a guest appearance in Spiced Citrus Vetiver), but rather, New Caledonia sandalwood which is from a different species and has a scent that is a tad animalic and musky.
The opening is reminiscent of lumber and sawdust: Cocoa Sandalwood smells more cedar-y at first, with only the slightest dusting of bitter cocoa powder underneath. The sweetness, true to Laurie Erickson's signature style, comes from rose, as well as fruity and milky natural peach lactone. Ambrette seed contributes a musky yet wine-like quality that beautifully complements the subtle rose as well as supports the luxurious aspects of sandalwood, and vetiver further contributes to the nutty quality ambrette an the woodsy theme of the perfume. The spices, though sprinkled throughout the perfume's phases, are never really noticeable, but rather add warmth and depth to the composition.
Top notes: Virginia Cedarwood, Ginger CO2, Ambrette Seed CO2 Heart notes: Rose, Natural Peach Lactone, Coffee Absolute, Cinnamon Bark Oil Base notes: New Caledonia Sandalwood, Cacao Absoute, Clove Bud Absoloute, Vetiver
My mom was always an au-naturelle kinda gal who loved real flowers but not perfume. So she never wore scent, but preferred floral prints instead, and would always pick beautiful flowers to cheer me up and weave a beautiful crown of spring flowers for my birthday. She even put edible blossoms in my salad (nasturtium and wild garlic flowers), and would cut the radishes into flower-shapes to encourage me to eat them.
Although she never worn perfume - she always loved aniseed tea and caraway-studded breads. So it comes as no surprise that to this day, I associate her with anise and and the enigmatic notes of violets and iris, which I find as soft and mysterious as herself and the midnight-blue crushed velvet she liked to wear. Kinda like what I imagined l'Heure Bleue when I read about it and before I smelled it.
It was only years later that she told me that indeed violets, anise, chocolate and vanilla were her favourite smells (before she lost her sense of smell almost permanently due to chronic colds...). And she also loved the lilacs she picked for me in her first visit to Vancouver (which sadly ends tomorrow...) Years ago, I created Indigo perfume in her honour, and I've put anise, caraway, boronia, violet, carnation, orange blossom, frankincense and amber in it... Now I'm thinking that although I was probably on the right track - I should make her another perfume, and hopefully she could smell it occasionally - with cacao and vanilla absolutes, violets and anise.
What perfume did your mom wear as you were growing up? Or what scents do you associate her with?
Leave a comment and enter a draw for a mini of Viola, my violet soliflore, a decant of Patricia Nicolai's Sacrebleu and a few other goodies... And - a quick reminder, that today is the last day ofmy Mother's Day free shipping online event.
Anima Dulcis (Sweet Soul in Latin) was one of those rare things in the perfume world: love at first sniff. And that first sniff began intriguingly with cumin, a note so rarely used in perfume, and when it does is considered a daring choice. It's not-always favourable association with sweat is precisely what makes cumin compelling to me. It makes it more human and accessible on a personal level. The love at first whiff is not so much because of the cumin, but more so with how it is orchestrated with iris and earthy-ambery base that brings to mind non other than the reformulated Femme de Rocahs (1989). In the latter, there is something audaciously over-the-top and a tad plastic-y. Anima Dulcis, however, is everything I could hope that version of Femme would transform to on my skin and better. The cocoa plays greater role in the ad copy (a Mexican theme of chocolate and chilli) than in the perfume: it's merely in the background, creating a layer of soft-focused dusting to complement the powdery orris, indolic jasmine and liberating hedione, and leading to a sensual, earthy finale of dark patchouli of the best kind and the bitterness of arcane myrrh resin. Discovering it was like meeting an old friend I was searching for a long time. A consoling moment. And to me the name is more of a suggestion that there is an echo to our soul somewhere, whether or not we're aware of it.
Top notes: Cumin, Black Pepper, Ylang Ylang Heart notes: Jasmine, Cinnamon, Orris Root Base notes: Vanilla, Patchouli, Benzoin, Myrrh, Cacao
Contrasting colours of lime green against deep brown are the centre of this playful fresh gourmand. Inspired by the Mexican way of treating chocolate as a savoury treat, Lime & Cacao is more piquant than decadent, and balances the sweetness of South American balsams with zesty lime, juicy may chang, and mineral and melancholic Blue Cypress from Australia.
Top notes: Mexican Lime, Fresh Ginger
Heart notes: Rose Geranium, Litsea Cubeba, Nutmeg Absolute
Lime & Cacao one-of-a-kind perfume EDP was created in 2009, and now available for adoption via my Etsy shop. It is packaged in my new Eau de Parfum splash/spray bottle (15ml), which is in my opinion the best way to apply this invigorating, summery fragrance. Like all of my EDP bottles, it packaged with both screw-cap (if you prefer to dab/splash) and a spray top so you can pick how you'd like to apply your new custom perfume :-)
This one-of-a-kind custom perfume is now available for adoption! When you purchase it, you also purchase the rights to exclusivity and I will never make it for anyone else but you. A refill can be re-ordered for $180 as the formula is kept on file.
I heard about the hot chocolate festival pretty late - when it was already halfway through. And of course, I had to at least make a pilgrimage to Cocoa Nymph (3739 West 10th Ave. @ Alma) and try her legendary hot chocolate. All of my visits there were purely business so far, and very busy at that - so I never actually just sat down and enjoyed a cup of hot CocoNymph before! Fortunately for me, Rachel was taking a little break, and we were able to just hang out, relax, chat and enjoy her company as well as a few other regular customers and friends whose faces I already recognize (and sometime can even guess their name right...). CocoNymph should be a weekly pilgrimage to Kitsilano just for that atmosphere alone. And did I mention they do live music shows there - almost every weekend?
Back to hot chocolate: You can find 4 flavours on a regular basis - white, milk, dark and dark spicy (inspired by the original Aztec power drink), made on site from real wholesome ingredients and topped with Rachel's marshmallows.
During the hot chocolate festival there is a new limited edition flavour at CocoaNymph every week - for both the hot chocolate AND the marshmallows, which are made on site from scratch!
The first week, it was the reverse switch - white hot chocoate topped with a milk chocolate marshamllow. Second week it was hazelnut hot chocolate topped with Crown Royal marshmallows. Last week - Earl Grey hot chocolate topped with Guilt inspired marshmallows (made with orange oil and juice!). The Earl Grey was sold out that weekend, but I have I tried the Guilt-y, orangey marshmallow, and am thrilled to report they are utter bliss and I just can't wait for the Earl Grey infused hot chocolate to return.
This week, the special flavour is a black-pepper infused hot chocolate topped with salted caramel marshmallows! Salted caramel is CocoaNymph's signature flavour - the first bonbons Rachel made and got this business started were her salted caramel chocolates. Her most popular confections are the English Toffee (highly salted and crunchy) and the SeaNymph bar (with sea salt and crushed pieces of the above-mentioned English toffee).
I sipped the dark hot chocolate, topped with the salted caramel marshmallows, which really balanced it well - and made it very easy to drink up what turned out to be a whole cup of heavy cream (!) with melted dark chocolate. This is hard core hot chocolate indulgence, yet I had no trouble at all getting to the bottom of it...
The experience was inspiring, and I'm really intrigued by the combination of tea and chocolate together... Or any infusions into liquid chocolate... Mmm... Maybe an idea for something to serve on my Valentine's Day "Spice It Up" Tea Party next Sunday? What do you think?
Last but not least, I'd like to use this opportunity to mention a giveaway via Vancouver Foodster Magazine - who are giving away a box of chocolates from CocoaNymph (value of $60) and a Roses et Chocolat mini + chocolate bar (value of $60 as well). All you need to do is comment, and tweet about it, and you will be entered :-)
P.s. In the photograph: Top right is white hot chocolate topped with vanilla marshmallow. Bottom left - dark hot chocolate with salted caramel marshmallow.