Bambi Meets Bamboo

Forest Musk Deer by siwild

Forest Musk Deer, a photo by siwild on Flickr.

Green at first, a shy musk deer is hiding among tall grasses, digging its nose deep in the ground, as if in search for truffles. Earthy-green notes are the first to show through the blades of cut-grass muskiness: Egyptian geranium, with it’s baby-powder muskiness and looming above all is rooty-green angelica with its sharpness tempering its otherwise candy-sweet. Ambrette seed accentuates the wine-like qualities of geranium and brings out the musky qualities even more. Frankincense adds more depth and bright mystery, deepening its desert-like dusty and musty-urine aspects. The entire ensemble sings in an alchemical unison that hardly reveals its components to the untrained nose, and creates a rather striking illusion of castrated Tonquin musk – it’s disturbing sharp greenness and dusty fecal notes included, but not the cruelty involved in procuring it.

It’s hard to speak of this Musc Botanique as having top, heart or base notes. It behaves more like a single musk note or “accord” and each of the individual notes I’ll list below are just part of the whole, but not enough to describe it.

Notes: Angelica Roots, Egyptian geranium, Frankincense, Ambrette Seeds

Strange Invisible Perfumes

Only a couple of hours before I had to board on my plane back to YVR, Persephenie took me to Strange Invisible Perfumes boutique in Venice, CA for a little visit. Located just 1138 Abbot Kinney Blvd Venice, CA 90291, United States - (310) 314-1505 and virtually at www.siperfumes.com

The store design is a minimalist interpretation of new age. The crystal bottles are displayed among hollowed crystal rocks and on chunks of tree roots. A long glass displaly table greeted us at the front, and behind it, manning the desk was a lady intently reading book about plants and hiding behind it shyly for a while, allowing us both to sniff our way without much disruption. Deeper into the shop, lines of organic body care from other brands (i.e.: John Masters and In Fiore’s boday balms), and baskets with sachets of Douglas fir needls caught my nose the most. Further in, there is a little capsule which looks like a glass train compartment of two benches in front of one another. This is where Alexandra Ballahoutis conducts her custom perfumes, where the client gets to taste different floral waters and apply different essences on their skin.

Up until recently, the entire line was only made into the pure parfum concentrnation. I tried a few (Trapeze, Fair Verona, Pearl Dragon) and found them to be dense, medicinal and even muddy – in short, quite unaccessible. Recently, most of the perfumes were made into an Eau de Parfum formulation (contrary to the website, as far as I could tell the entire line is available in the new Eau de Parfum concentration).

I smelled most and narrowed down my interest into the following (which I plan to order samples of so I can wear them and experience them properly):

Creamy gardenia, not overly heady. Tropical and rich. Will have to write more about it later after I try the sample on my skin. I also learned that Lady Day, which I always wanted to try is no longer made since the launch of Epic Gardenia. If anyone has an idea of how the two compare I would love to hear more about it.

From the new trio of modern, natural soliflores this one intrigued me the most. The intention behind it is to “FOLLOWS THESE FLOWERS BENEATH THE GARDEN FLOOR AND REVEALS THAT SWEETNESS BELIES STRENGTH”. It does not smell like lily of the valley on the blotter paper, but it does have an impressive lily of the valley suggestion on the skin – only richer and more complex. A narcissus note amplified as it progressed on the skin through the heart note phase. I will post a full review of that shortly as I received a sample at the boutique.

There was something intriguing about this perfume, and I wish I could wear it to follow its evolution. It has blue lotus and high quality aged patchouli as a base, which reminds me of Pashmina scarves.

The most intriguing of them all, with its interplay of mystery and familiarity. It is subtly floral at first and mostly musky in the dry down, warm with hints of spice.

Much headier than the Epic Gardenia. The dry down is sultry, honeyed and sweet with hints of orange blossom.

I have tried this before from a sample at home (the EDP I believe) and it’s a beautiful leathery musk, that reminds me very much of my Espionage only much lighter.

This one, unfortunately, smelled completely vile to me, with its harsh greenness at first. I am partial towards green smells, so take what I say with a grain of healthy doubt. It was so omnipotent though that I wasn’t able to not mention it here. It's not the kind of fragrance that can go unnoticed in the first few minutes at least. I think it was also the first one to be published as an EDP in the line.

A pretty rose. Haven't kept the scent strip but ordered a sample too (you can only order samples online, which makes sense - at the store you can try them than and there).

Unusual and mesmerizing although I’m not sure it’s for me. Tannin and leathery with its black tea notes but also lighter than might be expected with hints of florals and mint. It strikes me as one of the scents you absolutely cannot form an opinion about unless you’ve tried it on your skin. So I just ordered a sample online now.
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