Thursday, May 16, 2013

Solstice Scents: Gardenia

One of the reasons I love perfume oils is how informative the creators often are. I usually learn something fun or fascinating. Beyond that, I often feel involved in the process—whether it's because we (the buyers) are asked about our opinions, or we are included in a discussion about what the perfumer is coming up with next, or the perfumer does something interesting or unique and then shares that with us.

One reason I love Solstice Scents is because the perfumer talks about her process—her attention to detail, her search for the best ingredients, her devotion to quality. For spring, she released a very limited scent called Gardenia (suspended in alcohol, not oil). It is limited because she utilizes a time-consuming (and ancient) art of perfumery called enfleurage. Enfleurage (in short) takes thousands of flowers and infuses them down to a very precious bit of flower oil (instead of looking for other fragrances to mimic a certain flower or scent). The flowers Solstice Scents uses are her own (and pesticide free). As soon as I saw her talking about the limited batch she was doing for this year, I knew I would have to buy one of those very precious samples (it is much too costly to sell as a bottle). I love when people devote time and attention to a craft that is (largely) forgotten or out of use. It appeals to me on an aesthetic and cerebral level.

When I got my package, I sniffed the sample and felt like I should lock it away forever. But, part of the joy of perfume is that it is meant to be used, so today I'm taking out my sample and dabbing some on. (I may lock the rest away, just because I want to hoard this!)

Solstice Scents' description: “Solstice Scents is proud to offer gardenia essence from our homegrown pesticide-free gardenia flowers.  Only a limited quantity of .25 ml premium perfume samples will be available... Three different gardenia varieties (Gardenia jasminoides, Gardenia brighamii and Gardenia radicans) were used to create this 100% natural essence. Utilizing the principles of the centuries-old practice of enfleurage, we developed a unique technique to capture the fragrance of creamy white gardenia flowers in full bloom.” If you want to read more about their enfleurage process, here is the link: Gardenia--Enfleurage

Now to the review!

In the sample vial: pure gardenia (mostly flower, but some green and stem included).

On my skin: I immediately get GARDENIA. Milky, soft, and almost animalic. I also get a hint of something that comes across as cinnamon powder, but isn't. It's more like the pungency of cinnamon, but in flower form. At this point, my eyes are almost rolling back in my head because this is so very amazing. It's like gathering a bouquet of gardenias, slightly crushing the petals to release the essence, then putting that bouquet under my nose.

As it dries: I get a little more sap, a little bit of green, but the creamy pure gardenia note still dominates. This is probably the purest gardenia fragrance I will ever find, and although it breaks my heart that I won't be able to buy a bottle, I'm so thrilled that I was able to get a sample of this. It's beautiful (and worth the high price of a sample).

Dry down: this holds as pure and delicate gardenia. The pungency has dropped down, and what's left is smooth, smooth, smooth. It's like I rubbed a million flower petals on my skin, which is pretty much what I did—without having to do all of the work. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime type of fragrances. Something to cherish and love and be sad when it's gone, but also be thankful that I had a chance to try it. It never gives me a headache (which most white flower fragrances can do). It simply remains soft and drifts delicately from my skin, reminding me how beautiful the world can be when we take the time to see it.

This is pure gardenia. Pure and soft, beautiful, and comforting. To me, this is the perfect gift to give an adored mother or friend, or something to be worn on a wedding day. It deserves to be cherished because it's beautiful, but it also deserves to be used because it's beautiful.

I'm so glad I have this sample. Now, if you'll please excuse me, I need to buy a few more samples to hoard.

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