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.Other notes include: sandalwood, davana, pink pepper tree, high altitude lavender, galbanum, vanilla tincture. The scent is "resting in organic jojoba."
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.
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 simply....works.
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.
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 ~
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
All I Am A Redhead
Ca Fleure Bon (several writers here will be reviewing all the submissions)
Yoga Image from Yoga Tours Worldwide.