Mossy forests, leathery tea medleys with apricot, ginger spice blends atop soft florals, and indolic floral orientals — those are the heart of four fragrances from Providence Perfume Company that I thought we’d look at today.
Providence Perfume Company is a highly respected, American artisanal and all-natural brand founded by Charna Ethier. I really liked her Provanilla when I tried it earlier this year, a deep, dark vanilla with Caribbean rum and a surprisingly delicious splash of creamy honeydew melon. Ms. Ethier kindly sent me samples of her other creations and, today, I’ll cover Osmanthus Oolong, Ginger Lily, Hindu Honeysuckle, and Moss Gown. That’s a lot to fit into one post and I don’t want it to be ridiculously long, so I’ll try to be as brief as someone with my verboseness can manage.
Osmanthus Oolong is an eau de parfum that Fragrantica says was released in 2009. Providence Perfume Company describes it as follows:
Green, red and black teas blended with sparkling citrus scented aglaia blossoms, and golden Japanese osmanthus flower with its heady peach jasmine aroma. Tart and fruity middle notes give way to a sueded apricot base with a touch of leather. Lauded for its stunning aroma and sillage, Osmanthus Oolong is a must-try for tea lovers.
Fragrantica says the succinct list is:
Top notes: peach, bergamot and yuzu. Heart: osmanthus, jasmine, rooibos red tea and aglaia flower. Base: black tea, green tea and beeswax.
At its core, Osmanthus Oolong is a dark medley of teas infused with lusciously smooth, fresh apricot purée over a leathery base before eventually turning into smoky Lapsang Souchong leather with dried apricots.
The fragrance opens on my skin with black, green, and spicy Rooibos red tea over dark leather that’s been slathered with the sweet, tangy flavours of fresh apricot. Streaks of a bright, crisp citrus sparkle like yellow rays, while the faintest suggestion of floral osmanthus flutters in the distance.
It’s one of the most authentic, purest, and most multi-faceted teas scents I’ve ever tried, though admittedly I avoid tea as a beverage and I haven’t explored a ton of fragrances in the genre. Still, out of those that I have tried, this is tea, tea, and then some — all done with great smoothness and elegance. Out of the three varieties, the black tea is the most dominant, wafting its smoky and leathered facets. The spicy, almost earthy, South African Rooibos is next, while the green sort trails at a distance in last place. It smells delicate, fragrant, and a little herbal. I find the medley intriguing, particularly since it doesn’t include any jasmine tea. I despise jasmine tea immensely.
Rather than go that typical route, Ms. Ethier has created something much more original. She’s not only skipped the dreaded jasmine tea, but she’s significantly downplayed the equally common osmanthus flower in favour of walloping amounts of real apricot fruit. (For those of you unfamiliar with osmanthus, it’s a flower with apricot and leather nuances.) I often find osmanthus to be such a wispy note in perfumery; one person reviewing Osmanthus Oolong on Fragrantica, “Sherapop,” amusingly called it the “tofu” of flowers, and I think she has a point because, in many cases, it really is a blandly generalized floralcy that only hints at apricots and leather.
Here, the apricot is not only the real thing instead of some side-effect or undertone, but it’s five times stronger than the osmanthus. I love apricot, but I rarely encounter it perfumery, let alone a note handled as richly as this one. It has all the smoothness and depth of a succulent apricot compote, particularly its delectable tanginess. Thick, rich, perfectly balanced, with the ideal level of sweetness, and intensely fragrant, the apricot is the real star of Osmanthus Oolong’s opening for me. For tea-drinkers, however, I suspect it will be the main trio, while I think people in both camps will appreciate the smoothness of the leather in the base.
I’d consider the leather to be Osmanthus Oolong’s third main component, and it works beautifully in grounding the other accords, giving them a bit of grit, and a subtle kick. One thing I noticed is that the more I spray, the more the fragrance’s leather and the Rooibos spicy, earthy facets come out right from the start. The scent is darker, drier, and more tannic, far less fruity.
In both instances, however, the osmanthus really doesn’t come much into play for me. Whatever floralcy appears on my skin is subtle, weaving in and out of the background. A lot of the times, there is a much stronger aroma of something distinctly resembling chamomile flowers rather than osmanthus. I’m unfamiliar with the Aglaia flower and haven’t found much on its aroma besides a generic note on Fragrantica (which says its nickname is the “Chinese Perfume Tree” and that it bears sweet-smelling flowers) but perhaps that is the source of what I’m reading as “chamomile.”
Over time, Osmanthus Oolong’s various parts shift and rearrange themselves. The apricot waxes and wanes in strength at the start of the 2nd hour, while the black tea and leather slowly emerge as the main focal point. The Rooibos’ spiciness remains, but it retreats to the sidelines where it joins the increasingly diffuse, chamomile-like floralcy. By the time the 4th hour rolls around, Osmanthus Oolong is an apricot, black, Lapsang Souchong fragrance with a hint of earthy Rooibos spiciness over a leathery base. Slowly, the leather takes over, lightly sprinkled with apricots that are now dried, rather than tangy, bright, and sweet. There is a small touch of tea in the background but, midway during the 7th hour, it fades away and is replaced by a new element: beeswax. Honeyed, sweet, and creamy, it emerges at the top of the 8th hour as the leather’s main companion. In Osmanthus Oolong’s final moments, all that’s left is creamy beeswax with a vestige of something dark, almost smoky or burnt, at its edges.
Osmanthus Oolong’s projection is soft, the sillage is initially average at about 4 inches before turning soft at the end of 2 hours, the fragrance became a skin scent about 5 hours into its evolution, but the longevity was good. Several spritzes equal to roughly 2 sprays from an actual bottle yielded 11.5 hours on my skin, though I had to put my nose on my arm to detect it after the 7th hour.
On Fragrantica, the numbers are all over the place, but the fragrance generally receives good reviews. Most people seem to talk about the leather more than anything else. One commentator described a variety of leather products which the scent conjured up for her and her friends, from saddles to old books in a library or a leather steamer trunk. A second poster also said it smelt primarily of saddles in a stable to her. A third, however, described it as a “rather indulgent floral fruit liquor with a deep, rustic and tenacious quality.” For a fourth poster, “Sherapop,” it was primarily:
a strong oolong tea concentrate along with a substantial leather note and some other oriental components, including some unsweetened dried fruits that could give le grand Serge a run for his money. Very dark and rich and oriental[.]
I think people looking for a tea twist on leather fragrances (or vice-versa) will really love Osmanthus Oolong. It’s fully unisex, in my opinion.
Ginger Lily is an eau de parfum that Fragrantica says was released in 2009. Providence Perfume Company describes it as follows:
Fresh ginger lily blended with rose, ylang ylang, bitter orange, allspice and clove on an amber base. Clean, warm and invigorating, a unisex spiced oriental.
Fragrantica says the full note list is:
Top notes: ginger, black pepper, bitter orange and mango. Heart: ginger orchid, May rose, ylang-ylang and styrax. Base: white cognac, amber, vetiver and copaiba.
Ginger Lily opens on my skin with spicy, fresh ginger that is as boldly piquant as biting into the real thing. It’s followed by amber and a boozy, almost honeyed sweetness, then dashes of all-spice, clove, mango, and black pepper. Bringing up the rear is a demure, quiet lily, barely showing her face amidst the rich spice medley. The ginger’s main companion in the opening phase is primarily the allspice, and it adds an earthy, dry warmth that is really nice. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the name, Allspice is often a blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves, but there is also an actual Caribbean berry called Allspice that resembles dark peppercorns. To my nose, Ginger Lily seems to combine both sets of things.
Ginger Lily quickly changes. 5 minutes in, the booziness and amber sink into the base. Not long after that, the lily begins to slowly, very slowly, emerge from the back of the pack. At the 30-minute mark, the lily becomes an all-encompassing, enveloping haze that surrounds the ginger as one of the key elements. But it is a diffuse note that is primarily noticeable from a distance and on the scent trail in the air. Up close, it’s quite a different matter, as the ginger, all-spice, and growing quantities of clove dominate.
By the start of the 2nd hour, the ginger sometimes seems rather overcome by its earthier, darker, warmer companions, but it’s a constantly changing dance. At times, I think the clove and allspice have actually taken over completely, only to have the situation revert to a ginger-centric bouquet a short while later, and then back again once more.
The kaleidoscopic effect is accentuated by the florals which also begin to emerge at the start of the 2nd hour. Joining the diffuse, gauzy lily floating all around is a spicy, velvety creaminess indicative of ylang-ylang, followed by a hint of sweet, liquidy orchid. Dabs of cognac are sprinkled on top, while the vetiver awakens in the base. By the time the 3rd hour rolls around, the ginger feels quite weak up close, though it is still one of the main notes from a distance when I smell Ginger Lily in the air around me. Yet, as I mentioned earlier, it’s a dance, and the notes constantly wax and wane in strength. In general, the florals tend to blur into an amorphous haze that is primarily lily-ish in nature, before retreating to the sidelines midway during the 4th hour. The ginger typically returns at the same time, almost as strong as it was in the opening, while the other spices become a general woody, earthy, piquant cloud.
Ginger Lily’s drydown tends to begin about 5.5 hours into its development, and centers on a creamy, thick ginger fragrance that is given texture and custardy depth by the ylang-ylang, but little of its narcotic floralcy. That part nibbles at the edges, but it is the velvety, almost vanillic creaminess which is the ginger’s dance partner, and this is a spicy ginger fragrance above all else on my skin. Lightly sweetened, smooth, and flecked by wisps of smokiness, it’s delightfully cozy. The ginger is now mostly the crystallized sort, not fiery or zingy as the fresh variety, but it’s just as appealing. Over time, the creaminess is replaced by an unexpected creamy beeswax undertone, but all of it fades away in Ginger Lily’s final hours. All that is left is a spicy, lightly sweetened, and warm ginger bouquet.
Ginger Lily had moderate projection, moderate sillage, and good longevity on my skin. Using a few spritzes from my mini-atomiser equal to 2 sprays from an actual bottle, the fragrance opened with about 3-4 inches of projection and the same amount of sillage. The numbers dropped at the end of the 2nd hour to between 1 and 1.5 inches. Ginger Lily became a skin after 5.75 hours, and lasted 9.5 hours in total. It was always very light and airy in body, but it was strong up close for the first 4 hours.
Reviews on Fragrantica are completely split. One person dismisses Ginger Lily as a super light version of Serge Lutens‘ Five O’Clock au Gingembre, while another raves that it blows Jo Malone‘s Ginger Biscuit “out of the water.” For two people, the ginger wasn’t as profound or long-lasting as they had wanted, nor the fresh variety that they preferred. One of them detected a “tobacco/earthy” note, while the other had a lot of lily.
Several other posters experienced quite a bit of booziness, and an ambered finish. For example, “Cryptic” describes Ginger Lily as a:
complex, boozy oriental floral that opens with burst of piquant ginger, pepper and clove that is balanced against the freshness of bitter orange and some lush mango. The top notes are so big and bold that they filled the whole house when I was testing GL. The spices are then rounded and softened by the floral heart, and finished with a flourish of warm cognac and amber. A must-try for lovers of ginger-centric perfumes.
For “Tigerlillian,” Ginger Lily opened with “a dragon’s breath” of spices and a masculine bouquet before going through a few phases and also ending up on an ambery note:
Hot fiery dragon’s breath that opens with black pepper, sharp, fresh ginger and a hint of clove and bitter orange peel–very strong, natural and masculine to start. [¶] The ferocity recoils a little as the flowers soften the composition, but the spicy heat remains: ylang-ylang and rose are subtly discernable as the main player is always ginger. Cognac delivers an enigmatic swirl of inebriation into the spiraling tendrils of hot smoke.
As Ginger Lily continues to evolve, the mango’s fleshy character makes way without too much of its inherent scent. Copahu (copaiba balsam) isn’t overly present either but definitely extends the peppery notes and adds richness along with styrax. [¶] Ambery dryness to finish like hot embers glowing in a dragon’s lair.
As you can see, the accounts vary quite a bit, particularly on how much ginger is present, but I think ginger lovers should try the fragrance for themselves. It has some very enjoyable parts, and I think it skews unisex despite having some floral elements.
Hindu Honeysuckle is an eau de parfum that Fragrantica says was released in 2012. Providence Perfume Company describes it as follows:
From India With Love . . . Revered for its lush aroma, honeysuckle symbolizes generosity and kindness. Notes of sweet Indian Jasmine Sambac meld with green vetivert, musk ambrette, rose and coriander. Crisp bergamot belies the sweetness of honeysuckle.
The succinct list is therefore:
bergamot, jasmine, rose, coriander, vetiver and ambrette (musk mallow).
Honeysuckle is typically an accord that is recreated through other means, and Charna Ethier completely succeeds in capturing its particular beauty in the opening moments of Hindu Honeysuckle. The fragrance begins with a floral nectar that is radiantly bright and intensely honeyed. It lies like thick beads of golden dew atop lush, ripe jasmine that is strongly spicy but, above all else, almost inky black from the flower’s deconstructed, camphorous, and indolic sides. There is almost a leathery quality to the blackness, and the impression is accentuated by an earthy, green-black, quietly smoky vetiver that blooms all around the jasmine. At the same time, the ambrette yields a certain vegetal muskiness that works really well with the jasmine’s honeyed side. At the edges, a soft rose wafts a quiet fruitiness, while a flash of lemony bergamot yellow darts all around.
The sum-total effect is unquestionably “honeysuckle” in the early moments, a portrait composed of little parts like one of Seurat‘s Pointilist “dot” paintings. The heady jasmine, fruity rose, lemon, rich honey, touches of greenness, and even a subtle dry woodiness lurking in the base — they all produce that particular narcotic floral nectar and liquidity that I find to be so characteristic of honeysuckle. It’s an intoxicating scent that, despite the indoles and the camphorous leatheriness, evokes bright, sweet, almost youthful femininity rather than an older, heavier sensuality.
However, I’ve noticed that the “honeysuckle” shows up far more visibly and concretely the less fragrance I apply. When I only used a single tiny spritz, the lemony honey and fruitiness are greater, the vetiver doesn’t appear and the overall liquidy or nectared “honeysuckle” is much higher. This is my favorite side, but it is rather obliterated when I apply anything more than the smallest amount because, then, the individual parts take over and Hindu Honeysuckle feels like an intensely indolic, syrupy jasmine fragrance right from the start.
In fact, the indolic elements are so pronounced with 2 sprays that there was even that dreaded “mothball” buzz. For those of you unfamiliar with indoles or how they can manifest themselves, the nutshell explanation in simple terms is this: bees can’t see white flowers like jasmine, tuberose, orange blossom, or the like. So the flowers have an extra-large amount of a natural organic substance called “indoles” that they put out to signal the bees to their presence. In their purest, undiluted, and most concentrated form in perfumery, indoles can smell like musty or camphorous mothballs but, when diluted to just a few drops, they create a radiant richness in floral perfumes that is sometimes described as narcotic, heady, dense, voluptuous or sensuous. For some, intensely indolic flowers can have an over-blown, ripe quality that smells sour, plastic-y, fecal, urinous, or reminiscent of a cat’s litter box. Its richness in very opulent, classic fragrances is probably why some people find indolic fragrances to smell “old lady-ish” (a term I hate, by the way, even apart from its ageist aspects). Those who prefer clean, fresh scents are likely to struggle with indolic notes as well, and not only because of their heaviness. In Hindu Honeysuckle, the indolic quality is primarily leathery and camphorous, but the mothballs were evident as well in the background, even if they didn’t last for more than 15 minutes or so.
I love the scent of honeysuckle, but the recreated effect in Hindu Honeysuckle never lasts as long as I’d like, regardless of whether I apply a lot or a little. Depending on amount, it begins to fade between 15 and 30 minutes. The beautiful liquid quality is the first to weaken, followed by the bergamot lemoniness. The rose’s fruitiness waxes and wanes, but there is no question who is the star of the show: a thick, fully indolic Indian jasmine sambac that feels practically debauched, splaying itself wide open, ripe and musky, atop a base of camphorous leatheriness veined with smoky vetiver. The sense of fecundity is accentuated by the ambrette, its vegetal muskiness skewing almost dirty, but not quite. Honey drips over the whole thing with intense sweetness that is almost animalic at times. The overall effect always makes me imagine a languid harem favorite lying on a smoky leather, her gleaming skin bearing beads of honey and musk, her ripe fleshiness and her smile acting as a lascivious invitation.
It’s obviously an intensely feminine bouquet but, to my surprise, Hindu Honeysuckle turns quite masculine after a few hours. The first signs of what is to come occur 90 minutes into the fragrance’s development when the vetiver surges forth. In essence, Hindu Honeysuckle is now an indolic, syrupy jasmine scent layered with quietly smoky vetiver and lightly streaked with fruity rose, all over an intensely leathery, almost animalic base. With every passing hour, the vetiver, smoke, and leatheriness grow stronger, crowding out first the rose, then the jasmine.
By the time the drydown begins at the start of the 6th hour, the vetiver takes over completely, wafting minty undertones in addition to its smokiness. The other notes are essentially nonexistent. In its final moments, all that’s left is a vetiver-ish darkness.
I’m not sure if Hindu Honeysuckle’s drydown is meant to be this way. My skin tends to amplify vetiver, often to the detriment of other notes, so I suspect not. Then again, one Fragrantica poster wrote that the drydown was “too masculine” for her tastes, so it might be the vetiver for her as well, though she doesn’t explain what notes actually made it so “masculine.”
Reviews on Fragrantica are split as a whole, but tend towards the negative side. For one of my readers, “rp6969,” Hindu Honeysuckle was painfully sweet, like “my sisters’ first Bonne Belle from when we were kids,” and didn’t resemble honeysuckle at all. For “Moonsparrow,” however, the fragrance wasn’t sweet enough to resemble honeysuckle. Instead, it smelt “very sharp, pungent and sour,” and she guessed it stemmed from the coriander and vetiver. In contrast, two commentators thought Hindu Honeysuckle was both very sweet and completely resembled honeysuckle. One of them, “Raw Umber,” was ecstatic at finally encountering such a realistic recreation of the aroma, and her long, detailed review reads, in very brief part, as follows:
At last! My search has officially ended. [¶] I have finally found the sweet, airy and powerful true-to-life honeysuckle-centered fragrance of my dreams. Hindu Honeysuckle is magical. It is the perfection of summer, distilled.
One spray to each arm, and the most gorgeous realistic cloud of honeysuckle aroma enveloped me. It was euphoria. […][¶] Hindu Honeysuckle is a clear and transportive honeysuckle fragrance, conjuring memories of peaceful childhood summers in nature. It has amazing projection and longevity just like the real honeysuckle vine.
I think Hindu Honeysuckle will be a polarizing Love It/Hate It scent, not only because of its indolic nature but also because of the sweetness and whether its “honeysuckle” appears with great verisimilitude or not on your skin. I definitely thought the opening recreated the magic of “honeysuckle,” but it was always short-lived on my skin. As a whole, I’d be careful in terms of your quantity application, because I think that impacts which notes are amplified and the sum-total, overall bouquet. Generally, I think Hindu Honeysuckle skews feminine in nature, but there are sufficient dark and masculine elements for a confident man who loves indolic floral orientals (and jasmine sambac in particular) to pull it off.
Moss Gown is an eau de parfum that Fragrantica says was released in 2012. Providence Perfume Company describes it as follows:
Fall under the spell of Moss Gown. Created with the rarest of botanical essences, Moss Gown beckons with a swirl of green moss, the rustle of taffeta petals, a frisson of sandalwood. Verdant notes of sunflower and mimosa give way to a unique floral composition. Stunning Tasmanian boronia, rose, coffee flower and violet leaf are at the heart of this green, creamy floral. A base of powdered sandalwood and cedar moss complete the spell. A sophisticated natural luxury.
Fragrantica says the succinct list is:
Top notes are sunflower, mimosa, cedar and chamomile; middle notes are boronia, rose, coffee blossom, narcissus, lilac and violet leaf; base notes are cedarmoss, sandalwood and white cedar extract.
Moss Gown opens on my skin with wave upon wave of oakmoss, wafting the full range of its facets, right down to the peaty, earthy, tobacco’d, and even black licorice aromas of the richest absolute. Close on the oakmoss’ heels is aromatic, fragrant cedar dusted with spices and chamomile. Trailing at a distance is mimosa that smells like the woody, semi-dry, natural sort, rather than the sweet, sunny, pollinated, golden, floral fluffiness associated with cassie or acacia. A dark, semi-bitter streak of coffee is wrapped around it, along with a dry, woody violet leaf. As a whole, it’s a very similar combination of notes to something we were asked to create in AbdesSalaam Attar’s perfume course, except my version was an imbalanced, amateurish mess, while Moss Gown is beautifully composed and expertly blended.
It’s a captivating opening, a multi-faceted earthy, woody, green bouquet that is redolent of the innermost recesses of a forest, right down to its damp earth and quietly smoky peat. The oakmoss’ natural tobacco and licorice undertones work beautifully with the coffee in the 10 minutes that they’re on display, but they fade all too quickly. Instead, the chamomile and cedar grow stronger, along with a hay-like note from the narcissus. The boronia adds a woody sweetness that counterbalances the drier elements, and also adds a certain warmth that accentuates the impression of rich, loamy, black soil. There is no rose on my skin. Instead, to my surprise, there is something distinctly resembling a Lapsang Souchong smokiness and leatheriness wafting around the oakmoss. I assume that it must be another facet of the absolute which was used but, whatever the source, it adds to the complexity of the verdant, peaty, earthy bouquet.
I wish the opening lasted on my skin, but it doesn’t and eventually gives way at the start of the 2nd hour to a more diffuse, diaphanous mossiness that shimmers like a veil atop the weightier, more clearly delineated tonalities. The violet leaf trumps above all else, now smelling purely leafy and sometimes feeling quite sharp on my skin. The cedar is next, followed by heaps of chamomile that smell like the dried flowers. The oakmoss flutters all around but, instead of evoking plush greenness, it’s almost purely leathery now, and bears strong whiffs of tobacco. In fourth place is the chamomile, followed at a distance by the hay-ish narcissus. There is no coffee, barely any mimosa, and very little peaty earthiness.
Instead, there are some unexpected elements in the background. There are occasional bursts of something smoky and, occasionally, almost petrol-like in the background. It’s almost like vetiver combined with the gasoline whiffs that I’ve encountered on rare occasion with narcissus fragrances. To be absolutely clear, the gasoline is a very subtle nuanced and far outweighed by the smoky “vetiver”-like aroma, not to mention the copious amounts of violet leaf. That is actually my greatest issue with Moss Gown; I simply don’t like violet leaf (or its habitual sharpness) very much.
Moss Gown continues to evolve in incremental steps. Midway during the 3rd hour, it is a primarily centered on green violet leaf, woodiness, and a soft, diffuse mossiness, lightly sprinkled with dried chamomile and a pinch of earth peat, then placed atop a smoky, leathery base. I’d swear vetiver were part of the scent as well, and its aroma grows more powerful with every passing hour. By the end of the 5th hour and start of the 6th, Moss Gown is a mix of sharp violet leaf and smoky, woody “vetiver,” wrapped together with a thin ribbon of moss and smudged with a leathery darkness. The 8th hour is almost all soft, quietly smoky vetiver, accompanied by hay-like notes, a subtle creaminess, and pinches of violet leaf and moss. To my surprise, the narcissus pops back up a short time later in clearer, more distinct form, smelling dry, woody, and occasionally a bit gas-like in ways I can’t really explain. In its final hours, all that’s left to Moss Gown is an amorphous greenness that bears a lingering hint of vetiver.
Moss Gown’s projection, sillage, and longevity were roughly similar to its siblings. Using a few spritzes equal to 2 sprays from an actual bottle, the fragrance opened with about 3 inches of projection and about 4 inches of scent trail. The latter briefly grew to about 6 inches, before fading midway during the 2nd hour. Moss Gown became a skin scent after 4 hours, but lasted 11.5 hours in total.
Fragrantica reviews for Moss Gown are generally positive. Almost everyone describes the scent in terms of the moss first and foremost, but the woods, earthiness, grasses, chamomile, and bitterness come up as well. On the dissenting side, the one negative review finds Moss Gown to be “a bit much,” but doesn’t provide an explanation why. For “BatKitty,” Moss Gown took a few tries to appreciate, but the “unique” bouquet also took her back in time in a happy way:
I smell this perfume on my wrist and I am little again, standing in my grandfather’s backyard vegetable garden in the heat of an August afternoon. The smell of the hot sandy soil mixes with the sunflowers and goldenrod in the very back of his garden patch, next to his old sawdusty garage, which somehow traps just a touch of the humidity the afternoon sun has otherwise baked out of the air. The smell of tall dry grasses and chamomile roasting in the hot sun lingers like a spell over everything, and inside, the coffee grounds on my grandmother’s stove add their dry-bitter aroma to the mix.
For me, this is practically sacred ground, the scent of languid summers [….] It took me a few tries to come around to this perfume, but it has definitely grown on me; the bitterness beguiles me. I will say it is utterly unique, I’ve met nothing else like it, and I will enjoy it to the last drop.
A number of other people bring up the impression of sunny warmth as well. For example, “2lipsinHolland” writes, in part:
The initial blast is a great force of wet green moss. It is the scent of pure deep shade, as if I were sitting next to a creek under a giant tree whose roots and base were covered in deep green velvet. A few minutes in and the bright sun streams through the branches and a gentle breeze brings in the scent of the nearby meadow with wild growing chamomile and sunflowers. I think I am in love! All of this from a tiny spritz! A small test. A few hours in and everything has softened – the vegetal has warmed in the sun and dried a bit – the gentle dry floral smell of meadow flowers and chamomile is in the front and the deep moss is ever present humming in the background. For me the visual aesthetic that this fragrance conjures is art nouveau. This fragrance pairs well with original Lalique jewelry. I am not sure yet about the longevity but the sillage is definitely there. Regardless this is a work of art that will be going on my full bottle wish list!
For another person, however, Moss Chypre was primarily a woody chypre centered on cedar with some moss and which she summed up as “Eau de Cedar.”
If any of these versions sound appealing, you should try Moss Gown for yourself. I think it’s fully unisex.
ALL IN ALL:
I thought each fragrance had some very appealing parts, was seamlessly blended, and was far stronger than several all-natural perfumes that I’ve tried. Their longevity was also a happy surprise.
However, in all honesty, none of them suited me personally or swept me off my feet. Sometimes, it was because of a personal issue with a particular note; two of them had elements that I always struggle with. I loved Hindu Honeysuckle’s sweet, lush, narcotic opening, but the rest of it was difficult for me, particularly as I don’t enjoy such great quantities of vetiver. In the case of Moss Gown, the sharp violet leaf put me off along with a similar “vetiver”-like quality.
I liked the Osmanthus Oolong the most out of the four, thought it had the greatest degree of complexity, and found it to be the most distinctive scent as well, but leathery tea is not really my thing. I won’t drink the stuff, let alone wear it. That said, if I were ever to make an exception to my anti-tea feelings, it would be for Osmanthus Oolong. It was truly a fascinating scent, the Rooibos was perfect with its spiciness and earthiness, I loved the apricot, and the leatheriness was appealing difficult from the typical birch tar variety one usually encounters.
As for the Ginger Lily, it was actually quite enjoyable and, yet, there was something ineffable that ultimately left me underwhelmed. I can’t pinpoint why. It was nice but it didn’t dazzle me, and I think it’s the sort of fragrance that I would easily forget in the months to come beyond the memory of “ginger” and “spices.” Perhaps it was too simple, hazy, and indeterminate after its bold opening. The fragrance seemed to be going in too many directions at once, ending up as none of them. It wasn’t all ginger; it wasn’t ginger and lily; it wasn’t a floral oriental; it wasn’t purely a spice medley; but it was each of those things and somehow not any one of them, all at the same time. It’s difficult to explain, particularly as I really did enjoy parts of the scent, even if the sum-total left me shrugging a little.
Still, I think each of these fragrances has the potential to be incredibly appealing on the right skin and to someone who loves its main core. I wouldn’t have repeatedly ended each section with the encouragement for you to try the scent for yourself if I didn’t honestly believe the fragrance in question had some aspect that might really be a hit with people who loved a particular note or two. Plus, all the fragrances are good quality and available in affordable mini-sizes, making this a very approachable brand that is worth exploring more. I hope you’ll give a few of them a try.
Disclosure: Samples were provided courtesy of Providence Perfume Company. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.
Wowzer. As if I need more samples but I am lemming all of these and may get fhe sample set – I hope the shipping is not as outrageous as when I checked out the website last year! By your descriptions, the one I may end up blind-buying (if I don’t get the samples first) is Osmanthus Oolong. Great revews!
So – first things first: I happen to be wearing Moss Gown when I opened the blog today 🙂 It is easily one of my top 10 FBs – followed closely by PPC’s Divine and Divine Noir. I really enjoy Ms. Ethier’s work (as well as her customer service and healing herb lip balm!). I haven’t tried Ginger Lily, found the Hindu Honeysuckle too indolic for my taste, and the Osmanthus Oolong I actually bought a travel version of – it’s quite sweet on me, but sometimes that’s the mood I’m in. My god-daughter swiped it after smelling it on me, which I think is a fantastic upgrade from her beloved and awful Tommy Hilfiger ‘Girl’. I hope it converts her.
I have realized that I am in love with the Boronia in Moss Gown as a scent element – it just smells perfect (to me) on my skin. Like wearing a second better layer of myself. Hence – in my other comment on your Aftelier post – Lumiere is on my wishlist. Cost to Longevity ratio be damned. Kafka do you know of any other good perfumes that are centered on Boronia? and thank you for the back to back reviews from two of my favorite houses!
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How long does the scent last when sprayed on skin? I’ve tried an organic body spray that literally lasts like 2 minutes.
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