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I don’t know about you all, but summer is here in full force down in the swamps and I am flaming-flushed, feverish, and ready to die. I don’t even exaggerate–you can drown under the weight of your own scalding sweat here, if you don’t spontaneously combust first! So now would seem the perfect time to do a bit of scented time travel, and immerse ourselves in the bracing breezes, restorative rainstorms, and sweetly riotous blooms of our recent Spring–Solstice Scents 2017 Spring Collection, to be precise.
(Read more about this visionary indie perfumer and their wildly imaginative aromatic enchantments in our previous feature, here.)
Gin Flower, pictured above: (Osmanthus, Elderflower, Apricot, Vanilla, Juniper, Lime, Manuka Honey Accord (Vegan), Pear, Citron, Hawaiian Sandalwood) Ok, so if you ever invite me out for a drink, and maybe I step away to powder my nose just as you happen to get the bartender’s attention–you can never go wrong with ordering a stiff gin & tonic for me. Ever since I took a sip of my grandmother’s G&T at the tender age of four and promptly burst into tears (I thought it was a tumbler of ice water!) I’ve been both obsessed and repelled by this crisp, classic cocktail. There’s something about the aromatic, pine-y gin, the bitter quinine of the tonic, and the sour, zesty astringence of that essential twist of lime that has me both “ahhhh-ing” with satisfaction while simultaneously pulling that “blech!” face. Gin Flower is based off a gin and St. Germain elderflower liqueur cocktail and is the first in a series of cocktail perfumes at Solstice Scents. It starts off with a piquant blast of juniper that is immediate and prominent and takes me back to that first quaff of my grandmother’s acrid aperitif, but shortly softens to a citrus-y, honeyed floral and sweet woods that wears very close to the skin.
After The Rain: (Lilac, Wisteria, Blue Lotus, Rain, Green Accord, Wild Violets, Earth) Is a misty watercolor painting of a fragrance, conjuring romantic visions of an elegant lady of the manor looking up from her ledgers to wistfully gaze out at her garden on a cool, rainy morning in early spring. Delicate, purple florals, restrained greenery, and the ghostly tracing of rainwater on a chilled glass windowpane. I wouldn’t quite call this an aquatic, but I hesitate to call to call it a floral. Can we pretend that there is a category of fragrance called “haunting breeze?”
Blossom Jam Tea Cakes: (Southern Tea Cakes, Petit Fours, Floral Infused Jams & Preserves and a Delicate Aroma of Tea) I am not generally a fan of gourmands, but I do know that Solstice Scents always hits the mark with their delectable dessert-influenced fragrances… and though perhaps Blossom Jam Tea Cakes is not–initially– my cup of tea, I can recognize that it’s a lovely portrayal of these dainty tea-time delicacies. Fluffy cakes, jammy preserves, and, later, the rich sweetness of buttercream round out this fragrance. Several hours later I catch whiffs of a plastic-y vanilla from wrist, and that is fine with me; it reminds me of sniffing the heads of my Strawberry Shortcake dolls when I was a little girl, and it’s a comforting reminder that sometime a little sweetness can be a very nice thing.
Chiffon: (Vanilla, White Amber, White Musk & Lemon Myrtle EO) At first spray this is LEMON– a bright, tart, enormous face-punch of tangy yellow juice and sour, citric acid. What’s interesting is that it dissipates almost immediately and an airy sweetness emerges, which becomes a whipped cream/marshmallow note as it lingers upon the skin. Chiffon is a “dual concept fragrance” that brings together the sweet and refreshingly tart taste of Lemon Chiffon pie and the wispy beauty of chiffon fabric.
Cameo: (Almond, Rose, Yellow Cake, Tonka Bean, Coconut, Ginger and Red Orange) Creamy almond cake batter with rose petals, softly folded in. The oven is still heating and as the kitchen warms, the fragrances of lightly spiced ginger and milky, vanillic coconut waft from the bowl. On my skin, this confection never bakes fully through, and all the notes all remain slightly separate throughout the duration of the scent.
Mountain Vanilla: (Sweet Clover, Coumarin, Vanilla Musk, Fresh Green Accord, Poplar Buds, Morning Dew) Described as “…a coumarin-heavy scent with vanilla and light green elements,” Mountain Vanilla is…not the vanilla that I thought it was going to be! I guess that’s what I get for not reading the full description until just now. Coumarin, if you are wondering, is described as smelling of new-mown hay–and there is definitely a warm, sweetly herbaceous aspect to this fragrance. Don’t be put off by the opening notes, which smelled aggressively chemical to my nose for a few moments; it’s a stinging tang that burns off quickly before those grassy vanilla notes and subtle green nuances materialize. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled anything quite like it; it really does evoke imagery of an Appalachian meadow brimming with sweet clover and dew-dappled ferns and the soft musk of a Bambi or two.
Estate Vetiver (Estate Vanilla, Vetiver, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Lime) A perfume for vetiver and patchouli lovers, Estate Vetiver is a dank, dream of a scent that is raw, and narcotic and strange. With this one I smell only what I see in my mind’s eye, which is the damp, rotting splinters of a ship wreck, portentous dark skies and piercing sea breezes, and the lost and vengeful ghosts of two young women haunting a band of rogue pirates. As you can imagine, Estate Vetiver is my favorite among Solstice Scents Spring Collection.