My obsession with scented magics started early in life. If my mother were still around, I’d remind her of the times I used to sneak into her bedroom while she was elsewhere in the house. Slinking over to her vanity, I would fondle the fragrance bottles within reach of my stubby little arms, spritzing and spraying and splashing with abandon, and believing that somehow she wouldn’t notice when I’d appear at the dinner table in a sort of ecstatic trance, preceded by an intense miasma of assorted fragrances. Whether it was her cut-glass flacon of Chanel, or an opaque plastic bottle of something from Avon, each one of these perfumes was, for me, a portal to a special place, or beloved story, or the catalyst for an epic daydream. And at that age, I was already well on my way to reaching pro-daydreamer status.
Fragrance has the ability to transport us to another place or time, be it a memory, a wish for the future, or even a dream. It conjures phantom loves and losses, those whom we adored and those we mourn. It intoxicates, bewitches and holds our admirers rapt, enthralled. It allows us to slip into the skin of that which we would wish to be–the femme fatale, the ingénue, (or, if you’re weirdly specific like me, “Morticia Addams tending a poison garden at midnight in late summer, moments before fearsome thunderstorm”).
One such creator of wildly imaginative aromatic enchantments is visionary indie perfumer Solstice Scents. Read on to learn more of this extraordinary indie perfumer as well as for the opportunity to win a sampler pack of their beautiful fragrances!
Founded in Florida in 2004, and inspired by the lush wild life and rich natural wonders of their local Gainesville area, as well as an interest in handcrafted holistic remedies, Solstice Scents originally offered scented apothecary items such as soap, lotion, salts, candles, body oil, loose hand blended incense powders, and dream pillows. Since that time, they have evolved to focus primarily on their perfumery, which is the very heart of their dream–although, occasionally, companion products such as the Burnishing Glace Mist and Whipped Soaps are available! The same spirit, inspiration and aesthetic, however, remains infused into each item, and all products are made with the same attention to detail and in small batches to ensure freshness. The labels are designed in house with the original mastic tree logo. Each fragrance is still handwritten on the product label.
Solstice Scents creates their imaginative fragrances by illustrating new worlds, abstract concepts and experiences in an olfactive format. For instance, their Foxcroft line portrays a fictional town, brought to life through scent–there is even a town Bulletin highlighting characters and events within the town which came out in tandem with seasonal releases. The very first scent was Foxcroft, which focuses on autumnal decaying leaves, and the idea was expanded upon to include various scents within the town: the drive-in theater, the ice cream parlor, the boarding school, the fall fair and many more.
We bottle atmospheres like desert thunderstorms, the forest floor, a damp fruit cellar in an old manor house, the inside of a basilica, the seasons and so on in a hyper-realistic way to transport people.
“The turtle shell is my armor, the spiderweb holds negativity in its sticky silken thread, the venom of the rattlesnake protects me and the eagle allows me to fly from danger.”
Just this past March, Solstice Scents participated in Project Talisman, a multi-perfumer endeavor in which each contributor interpreted a protective amulet style fragrance. For this project, launched on the perfume blog Cafleurebon on March 15th, Solstice Scents created Guardian: a natural unisex forest chypre with an amber core, featuring botanical elements associated with protection which are further enhanced with rowan flower essence and black tourmaline gemstone essence.
I was privileged to sample Guardian, which, though I believe is inspired by a mystical desert landscape, smells to me of dense, sacred earth, amber sunlight through a forest canopy, and herbs best plucked from the shadows…and feels like finally coming home. I’ve never called the desert my home, so of course, your mileage may vary.
Launching in early May, Solstice Scents’ Spring Collection will again blossom, including a variety of returning perfumes from previous years as well as several new releases. One about which we have heard thrilling whispers, is After The Rain: a natural perfume in organic cane sugar alcohol featuring notes of lilac, purple wisteria, blue lotus absolute, rain, new green leaves, wild violets, soil, clary sage and more. After the Rain is “a lilac-heavy fragrance with green and petrichor top notes” and sounds both delicate and devastating for lovers of lovely spring florals.
Another extremely exciting items for those perfume collectors amongst us who have run out of room on our vanities and have resorted to corralling our collection in so many old shoeboxes: Solstice Scents now offers a handmade custom four tier perfume shelf (and for those rabid collectors–if your collection would easily fill one unit, consider mounting two side by side!)
Two Solstice Scents that are heavily in current rotation for me right now are Monarch and Snowshoe Pass.
Monarch (red musk, fir, juniper, cedar, frankincense, labdanum, moss) is a sharp, green incense that is balanced out by rich, warm woods, and is for me, personally, is the olfactory equivalent of the golden glow that spreads through your chest after a few sips of whiskey on a winter evening.
Snowshoe Pass (white amber, white musk, vanilla accord, peppermint cream, cold winds) caught me by surprise. I often remark how, with a few exceptions, I’m not a huge fan of sweet (or minty) scents, but Snowshoe Pass is utterly lovely and so I am eating my words once again. The mint is not at all prominent, but it lends a chilly breath to this plush, pillowy scent that somehow evokes a close coziness and a light, airy atmosphere. After a few hours it fades to a soft, sweet skin scent that calls less for nibbling than it does nuzzling.
Solstice Scents has generously offered has a set of assorted sample scents to one reader!