Saturday, October 1, 2011

Brave New Scents: JoAnne Bassett's Enchant

A Natural Perfumers Guild Project

One of the two scents I am reviewing today for the Natural Perfumers Guild's Brave New Scents Project comes from JoAnne Bassett Perfumes. JoAnne wrote a lovely and reflective piece about her scent, which explained her process for creating the perfume. Enchant largely came together around the quote from Brave New World the project press release features:
I want God: holy basil, oud, champaca.
I want poetry: osmanthus.
I want danger: vetiver, patchouli.
I want freedom: orange essences, yuzu.
I want goodness: rose, jasmine.
I want sin: ambrette seed.
Other notes include: sandalwood, davana, pink pepper tree, high altitude lavender, galbanum, vanilla tincture.  The scent is "resting in organic jojoba."

So what does a combination of God, poetry, danger, freedom, goodness, and sin smell like?

Earthy and mossy, supple and strange, gentle and delicate, Enchant is a complex and beautiful scent. It is so...complicated. On me, there is an opening flood of basil, champaca, yuzu, and a sweet patchouli. The scent unfolds delightfully over time, but is difficult to pigeonhole within mainstream perfume labels. JoAnne herself wrote, "I am not sure what to classify this new perfume. Such diverse oils - from oud to incense to a floral gourmand. It is a temptress." I have to agree. It is sweet, it is green, it is warm, it is rooted, and yet it also has a fragile quality about it. It reminds me in some way of the beautiful smell of decaying fir needles, after the greenness of the fir aspect has settled behind the sweetness of transition.  What I find enchanting is that, where other scents might be these things in turn, JoAnne has made a scent that is somehow all of them at once, and

JoAnne talks a lot about feeling the scent began with and was rooted in a kind of olfactory sacred space. I see that in this scent. When I smell Enchant, I think about the strength it takes to do yoga or Tai Chi. These kinds of movement, when done correctly, seem to flow effortlessly from one position to the next in an artful cascade of grounding and connected energy.
 However, if you're like me, you know that trying to do yoga or Tai Chi is really, really hard. It takes strength. It takes practice. It takes patience. You have to really listen to your body, understand what it is trying to tell you, and connect with a sense of inner calm and peace that on most days is elusive. It looks easy, but it is deceptive because learning to access that kind of bodily knowledge takes years of serious effort.

This scent has all the strength and sense of purpose that kind of movement. When  it is done correctly, it seems effortlessly in its execution. So does Enchant.  At first sniff, you might find yourself impressed by the tender quality of the rose, the smoothness of the vetiver, the airiness of the orange essences. Sniff again, and you see the strength, the focus, the energy hidden beneath the surface, guiding the endeavor with purpose and intention.

A beautiful scent, and not like anything else I've tried. A parfum oil, it lasts for hours.  At one point, I went to sleep with it on and found it still lingering eight hours later.  If you're feeling bored with the things you've been smelling, I'd suggest trying Enchant.    

And speaking of trying, JoAnne has graciously offered up a 1/4 oz French flacon of Enchant Parfum to one lucky reader! Winner will also get a specially made mixed Cd based on the theme of  Huxley's Brave New World. Please post here by 12:01 AM Friday, October 7, 2011 PST and tell me what scents you associate with the sacred or divine? 

For more wonderful scents and reviews, see the list of participating perfumers and bloggers in the Brave New Scents Project here:

~ Brave New Scents ~ 
 The Perfumers:
Rohanna Goodwin Smith of Ascent Natural Perfumes
Anya McCoy of  Anya's Garden
Jane Cate of Wing & a Prayer Perfumes
Elise Pearlstine of Bellyflowers Botanical Perfumes
Christi Meshell of Matriarch
JoAnne Bassett of JoAnne Bassett Perfumes
Adam Gottshalk of Lord's Jester
Liz Cook of One Seed Perfume
Ambrosia Jones of Perfume by Nature
Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume

The Bloggers:
All I Am A Redhead
Ca Fleure Bon (several writers here will be reviewing all the submissions)
Perfume Critic
Perfume Shrine
The Examiner

Yoga Image from Yoga Tours Worldwide.


solace said...

access to botanical perfume at all is heavenly... this offering of life from life to life... but i would offer up petitgrain as an unlikely answer. it's elements of leaves and twigs and light. it's unassuming nature spans a greater elemental distance than a frontrunner like rose or frankincense.

joAnne is an obvious alchemist and i would be honored to experience her magic!

Doc Elly said...

Diana, I'll throw my hat in the ring for the "Enchant" giveaway! It certainly sounds interesting.

ahsu said...

I think oud is the most sacred/divine scent to me. I find it very mentally calming and invigorating. I'm trying not to mix the scent aspect with the visual I associate with burning incense (rising wispy smoke) also invoking a visual sense of the sacred.

Diana said...

Petitgrain is an interesting choice solace -- and I do like leaves and twigs and light. Thanks for reading!

Diana said...

Doc Elly, glad to see you're back around the tubes...

Diana said...

ahsu, there are a lot of smoke scents I associate with the sacred. For me, its about the incense, but I can certainly see how an oud would get you there.

Thanks for reading.

Isa said...

With sacred or divine I associate perfumes which contain incense, sandalwood, precious woods...
Perfumes like Diptyque Tam Dao, Diptyque L'Eau Trois, Heeley Cardinal, Comme des Garçons Avignon...
I love this kind of perfumes, btw. I find them really relaxing.

Thanks on this draw! :)

Diana said...

Isa, don't thank me, thank JoAnne! She's not only a great perfumer, but super generous to boot.

HJ said...

An amazing combination of essences JoAnne! Always wondered what osmanthus and yuzu would smell like together. :-)

Wonderful review and draw!

womo531 said...

I'd like to say Frankincense and Myrrh, the imagery of biblical elements that were used as burnt offerings brings to mind things that are sacred to me. Would love to win this one!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to suggest that Rose is the scent of the Divine, for me - a little bit of Heaven here on Earth.

Princes Street has just been shut to vehicles (for maintenance work). I walked Princes Street alongside the steeply-sloping Rose beds, which are situated behind park railings on the shop-free pavement side.

The fragrance of all the colourful Roses in bloom, Roses whose scents would usually be lost to diesel fumes, sweetened the humid air effortlessly. All Rose colours, shapes and stages of development were there: sheer unadulterated bliss, and an unlooked-for and humbling gift in our brief Indian summer.

Roses: the scent of a sacred space for me.

Anna in Edinburgh

ccdouglass said...

The scent that comes immediately to mind is Frankincense, since it smells like church to me. Thanks for the giveaway!

JoAnne Bassett said...

Thank you Diana for the 4 nods. I am glad you like Enchant. Enchant is meditative and so much more.

Michael said...

Scents for the divine, the ones that jump immediately to mind are sandalwood, oud, frankincense, benzoin. But I think it also depends on where you worship. Oakmoss is very spiritual for me, jasmine definitely embodies that feminine sacred to me, and labdanum for that animalistic male, neroli for the light and airy fey, so many scents!

Lauren said...

Outdoor scents smell holy or divine to me. The smell of thawing soil in spring, rain on a steaming road, violets when you get down really close to them in the grass, and then leaf piles in the fall all have a timeless and precious and holy smell to me.

Bellatrix said...

Sacred or divine? Hm...
Something gracious as a rose combined with something misterious such as frankincense. Also neroli... yes.