If you haven't checked out these beauties, now's the time! Here are my Top 6 picks for Fall 2017:
1. Patchouli Clouds by Marina Barcenilla Parfums - I can not seem to get enough of this breathtaking, 100% natural patch. I get this litte bit of jasmine in it that somehow lifts it up. I don't get spice, but almost like an innuendo of it. It's woody and on the darker side, and I just find it unbelievably therapeutic. Grounding and relaxing but exhilirating in its beauty.
2. Wild Rose by Thorn and Bloom - Now that it's cooler, I'm moving towards roses that are darker and have more heft. Wild Rose is still not super dark, but it has some nice deeper notes of myrrh and woods in the base and a balsamic texture overall. It's a rose that men can easily wear as well as women, and I partially attribute that quality to the fact that it's 100% natural.
3. Civet by Zoologist - Practically a modern classic at this point, but how wonderful that it just happens to wear so beautifully in the fall. It has rich florals, spice that is not overwhelming by any means, and a touch of animalic (synthetic of course), musky warmth.
4. Dryad by Papillon Artisan Perfumes - Dryad wears well in all seasons, but I love it for fall because this is the season where I feel vetiver really shines. People might think of it as a good galbanum fragrance, which it totally is, but I get so much lovely, bright vetiver in the heart. It also has some soft woods, which round out the woody aspects of the perfume, making it lightly woody rather than heavy and dark (as we sometimes like our winter perfumes to be).
5. Erdernstern by April Aromatics - Who doesn't like a little tobacco in their fall fragrances? Tobacco is one of those notes that just screams fall. It's earthy, warm and sweet, and it blends so beautifully with woods and spices. Erdenstern is all of those things in one bottle--sticky tobacco, bitter cacao, intense woods, sweet without being a toothache. So beautiful! I've been reaching for it a lot on cool days, for peaceful fall hikes, or sometimes I spritz my inner-elbow before bed. Also 100% natural.
6. Usar by Euphorium Brooklyn - A spectacular quality vetiver with an edge of clean, sugared sweetness. I get a hint of clove in the base, but it's not prominent on my skin. Usar also has an addictive delicate smokiness about it that smells like natural paper that has been singed on the edges. It gives you some smoke without becoming cloying. Such a beauty!
Have you tried any of these? We'd love to hear from you and also hear about your own fall favorites!
I invite you to watch a YouTube video about natural perfume myths and animal issues in the perfume industry that I made with natural perfumer Laurie Stern of Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery. Laurie is the newly appointed Director of Animal Conservation at the IPF (International Perfume Foundation) based in Paris. You might learn some new things about natural perfume and about what really goes on in the perfume industry.
Several years ago, I began to look for serious 100% natural perfumes. By far, the best I had found at that time was Strange Invisible Perfumes, based in Los Angeles. I've been in love with their fragrance Atlantic for many years. I was struck by the fact that they kept mentioning that they made natural botanical perfume. I thought--isn't natural perfume "botanical" by default? It turns out that the answer is NO. I soon discovered that other natural perfumers were using cruel, animal-based ingredients such as (what I refer to as) the Terrible Three: civet, castoreum (from beavers) and deer musk, often from endangered deer. For these animals, those ingredients essentially spell pain, suffering and death.
Siberian Deer Musk. Source: DiscoveryMagazine.com
I was very upset that some natural perfumers tout the philosophy of "natural is better". They sell a product that makes you think you are doing something good by choosing "natural". Some of them will not tell you that they are using cruel ingredients. They sometimes use misleading terms like "vintage civet" as though by happenstance they discovered a little stash of civet in a shipwreck. Because of all of the deception, I began to seek out natural perfumers with whom I could have a one-on-one conversation. I sought out Laurie because I remembered reading her article on animal cruelty a few years earlier, and she happened to live in the San Francisco area, as did I.
Civet from Malaysia. Source: DiscoveryMagazine.com
I wanted honesty. Accountability. Integrity. Artistry. Craftsmanship. Responsibility. Sustainability. Having a conscience in the way in which perfumers source their materials. Nobody is perfect, but there are indeed things we can easily do to put a dent in the very serious and very real problem of cruelty in the industry.
If you want to read more about animal musks and cruelty in the industry, click here to read Laurie Stern's well-researched article, which we briefly mention in the video.
Thank you for reading and watching!