How Perfume Boredom Led To i smell great™

How Perfume Boredom Led To i smell great™

Regular readers of my blog know that I can count the number of times I’ve written a rave review about a newly released perfume on one hand. I love perfume, and I love writing about perfume, but the only perfumes that have interested me enough to write about have either been niche, which often means expensive and/or hard to find, or vintage and vanished from the market. I hoard my vintage perfumes that will never be made again, and I resent having to pay a fortune for some niche brand that uses the same ingredients as everyone else.

By now everyone knows about i smell great™, the perfume brand created by Randi Shinder and myself. Randi created and launched three beauty brands that were so groundbreaking they formed new categories in fragrance and skin care. And, we are both perfume junkies, in the truest sense of the word. We eat, sleep and breathe perfume. We obsess about scents and flavours all. The. Time. Stimulate our sense of smell or taste, and we are already dreaming about how this or that would work in perfume. Both of us have been obsessive “noses” since we can remember. Scents haunt us, and they haunted us until we captured them and bottled them, like perfume ghosts.

Randi and I would often get so excited about a scent we would hear about. Then, we’d try it and find it was pretty much exactly the same as many many perfumes before it. Cue the sad trombones. Newsflash: the industry is full of imitation. If one perfume has commercial success, wait for every other designer to release a perfume that smells “similar”. They copy the successful one, maybe tweak it a tiny bit (and maybe not) and then call it something else. Just wander around any perfume department and smell all the top sellers. A well developed nose will be able to find the sameness in everything.

The names are often ridiculous and have nothing to do with what the perfume smells like. Reveal, Downtown, Encounter and how about 18 different editions of Eternity for women and another 14 Eternity versions for men? Oy. Sorry, Calvin, but you aren’t even trying anymore. Talk about phoning it in.

Then there is this business of “notes” in perfume. It used to mean a lot more, and still does with some niche and artisanal perfumers. But for most mainstream perfumes, that cacophony of  top, middle and base notes aren’t really telling us what the perfume smells like. It’s ad copy. It’s a romantic idea of the scent. Yes, yes, some of those synthetic molecules are meant to smell like certain things, but that doesn’t mean assembling them together as if you are Jacques Guerlain (SPOILER ALERT: YOU ARE NOT) is going to create another Shalimar. It’s like a habit that the consumer thinks they need to know. Do you? I know I don’t care. I want to know if it smells good, and those vague and random recipes and notes rarely tell me anything about the scent.

So. Why not make perfumes for the masses, why not make perfumes for those who really just want to wear an uncomplicated scent that just smells great? Why not make perfumes that don’t cause headaches, perfumes that don’t choke everyone around you with chemical scent enhancers that elevate perfume projection to nuclear levels? Yes, lady who bathes in Angel before getting on that elevator, I’m looking at YOU. Stop. Now.

I can’t wait to share how Randi and I came to create our perfumes. How the things we loved became perfumes. How the scented products that accompany the perfumes have bases that were just as important as the perfumes. I challenge you to spray your hands with i smell great™ Wellness Water Fragrance Mist. The luxurious base of purified water and skin-healthy ingredients means you can rub it in and it will feel great as well as smell great. Go ahead and try that with a mainstream body mist. Be careful though, it will probably dissolve your nail polish.

Stay tuned for more of our story!

Guerlain Samsara, Heaven In A Bottle (Vintage)

Guerlain Samsara, Heaven In A Bottle (Vintage)

Guerlain Samsara is definitely a bombastic perfume. There are two stories about the origin of this perfume which was released in 1989. The romantic story of the scent itself tells us that Jean-Paul Guerlain sought inspiration in China and Tibet to create Samsara,  The Sanskrit word, translated, means “continuous flow”.

Dhyana Mudra, the perfect balance of thought, rest of the senses, and tranquillity.

Dhyana Mudra, the perfect balance of thought, rest of the senses, and tranquillity.

“Samsara is a Sanskrit word that has its roots in Hinduism. It signifies the cycle of birth and rebirth, the perpetual voyage from one existence to the next, the wheel of life that keeps on turning. Samsara is an invitation to serenity and harmony, with oneself and with the world. It is an homage to the woman who is ever in search of serenity.”

samsara parfum

Guerlain Samsara vintage parfum/extrait

samsara edt

How fitting that sandalwood would figure in this scent- again images of temples, incense, prayer and meditation come to mind when one gets a whiff of sandalwood. The marketing story reminds us that it was 1985, an era of power scents and Samsara was created to get in on this action. Opium, Obsession and Chanel Coco were hot selling heavy orientals in a big 80s way, and Guerlain did a perfect job creating a contender with Samsara.

samsara-guerlain-1633

Back to bombastic. The notes from Guerlain speak of “a spellbinding predominance of jasmine. Rose, narcissus and ylang-ylang embellish the fragrance, the better to unite it with the radiant and generous warmth of sandalwood. Lastly, iris, Tonka bean and vanilla render this remarkable fragrance sublime”. I totally agree. There is the classic Guerlain base, commonly known as “Guerlinade” that most (not all) of the classic Guerlains have in common. This is a composition of several perfume notes but notably jasmine, iris, tonka and vanilla. I could drink this it is so divine- it makes you want to lean in and devour the wearer. So, take the Guerlinade, amp up the jasmine to almost obscene levels (in the best way!), then add a combination of pure and synthetic sandalwood at top volume and somehow the sandalwood grounds the jasmine and the jasmine lightens the sandalwood. A perfect and magical combination.

As with many perfumes today, there are different vintages of Samsara, the earlier ones containing more pure sandalwood. There is parfum (purest concentration of perfume), eau de parfum (more alchohol and not as concentrated than parfum) and eau de toilette (most common and less concentrated than eau de parfum and parfum) available in the Samsara line. I have the “vintage” (pre 1990) parfum and eau de toilette as I find the eau de parfum to be the 80s killer BIG PERFUME, but your mileage may vary. They are all powerful in that 80s sense but it’s all in the application. I lightly mist the eau de toilette with divine results. A few dabs of the parfum are intoxicating, the jasmine mingling with the sandalwood in a magical dance that teases forth from the skin. I often dab some on at bedtime (I never get into bed without perfume) and in the morning I can still smell it on my wrists. Samsara’s density makes it wear beautifully in cooler temperatures.

Samsara is one of those perfumes that smell wonderful wafting up from a pashmina or sweater. What are your favourite cozy scarf and sweater perfumes?

Radiant Skin – Aftelier And Rodin, Facial Oils That Are Making Me Glow Right Now

Radiant Skin – Aftelier And Rodin, Facial Oils That Are Making Me Glow Right Now

I am a huge proponent of oils for moisturizing. For the body, the face, cuticles, nails and hair. Aroma M, Kiehl’s, Aftelier, Osmia Organics and Providence Perfumes, just to name a few of my favourites. Oil is a quick and efficient way to add much needed moisture and nutrition to our skin, as the molecules are smell enough to penetrate skin on contact. The oils I use and love also have the added benefit of smelling delicious, like a perfume that does wonderful things for your skin.

Lately even my oily skin has been in need of some extra moisturizing TLC. I’ve been alternating applying a few drops of oil on my face at bedtime and morning, to just adding a few drops to my regular moisturizer. Both methods work beautifully. If I’m using a serum at bedtime, I just wait for it to “sink in”, then apply my oil to my skin. One really only does have to use a few drops of these oils as they are super-concentrated. I adore both of these, but Aftelier oils are among my favourites in the world. Really. If you haven’t tried them.

aftelier organic ylang face elixir

Aftelier Organic Ylang Face Elixir ( $65, 15ml) I am a huge Aftelier fan, and the Organic Ylang Exlixir is no exception. It is a lush and luxurious oil that feels rich and moisturizing immediately upon application. I have been using it morning and night on my neck and definitely see results. It’s moisturizing benefits linger all day, and I love the way it feels on my skin. It does have a rather intense floral scent, so you should sample before buying.

From the website: 

Featuring organic ylang ylang, a creamy floral blended with bright pink grapefruit and blood orange both known for their toning and softening properties. The soothing aroma is both fresh and floral. Our face elixir is in a base of the following organic oils: rice bran, sweet almond, apricot kernel, camellia, grapeseed, squalene, and rose hip seed. These oils are chosen for their ability to promote cell regeneration. 

rodin olio lusso face oil

Rodin Olio Lusso Face Oil ($150, 29ml) This is a gorgeous and luxurious “cult” beauty item. It is rich, and this beautiful golden elixir applied at bedtime ensures a dewy glow when you wake up. Even in this climate! One word of warning – if you are sensitive to scented products, be sure to test this before buying. It smells quite intensely of jasmine, which I frankly love! They have a travel set which is a perfect way to try ALL the Rodin oils. I still have to try the Lip Balm, so stay tuned for my impressions!

From the website:

Olio lusso is made from a blend of 11 essential oils derived from flowers and botanicals. Creator, Linda Rodin, spent over a year making the elixir to satisfy her own beauty needs; the outcome is nothing short of wonderful! Applied morning and night, olio lusso is perfect for anyone seeking hydrated skin, and a luminous complexion. Apply a few drops of RODIN olio lusso on a clean, moist face morning and night.

If you have dry skin, and want to be moisturized, you really should consider adding skin oils to your routine. If you are a user of Clarins or Decleor face oils, then you already know what I’m talking about, and need to try these exclusive niche products. You won’t regret it. And if you do use oils, do yourself a favour and get glowing with Aftelier and Rodin.

 

 

Le Labo Jasmin 17, Guerlain Eau de Lit & Perfume Layering

Le Labo Jasmin 17, Guerlain Eau de Lit & Perfume Layering

Brigitte Bardot's smoking in bed (3)

Le Labo is a nifty perfume house out of NYC that has a cool aesthetic to their brand. Their counter/boutiques have an old school apothecary lab vibe and they dispense their perfumes while you wait, and print out a custom label with your name on it for your perfume. Gives it a perfume prescription feel, like it was made just for you. I’m on the fence on this concept, as I feel it could make for inaccuracies when doling out perfume into bottles, but that’s just me. So far I have yet to be disappointed in one of their scents, and find them all pretty gorgeous. My favourites are Ambrette 9 and Jasmin 17, and I adore layering them. The idea behind their fragrance names is the first word, ie Jasmin (french for jasmine) is the main ingredient, and the number afterwards denotes the number of supporting “notes”. I suppose that could work, although for the most part you know how I feel about “notes”. At any rate, who cares, because the perfumes are lovely. Feminine, masculine, sexy and soft – Le Labo has something for everyone. They even have candles and laundry detergent (brilliant!) in matching scents.

le labo ambrette 9

I have Ambrette 9 in an eau de toilette. It is marketed as a baby scent, so trust me when I say it is the softest perfume I have ever ever worn. It smells like the air in the bathroom after shampooing baby hair with J&J No More Tears shampoo. Ambrette is a natural seed that mimics musks and can smell sweet, lovely and skin-like, or like pickles. Le Labo managed to encourage the former out of the note and I love it. This is one you can keep in your fridge and spritz on cool when the weather is all melty, and of course, I like to wear it to bed.

le labo jasmine 17 perfume balm

Le Labo perfumes also come in a balm format – a silicone based gel substance that is a wonderful carrier for perfume. It doesn’t spill and is easy to apply – just rub a few drops in and you’re done. It is a terrific way to keep your perfume gentle and close to the skin, and that is how I like my Jasmin 17. I think Le Labo Jasmin 17 should be called Orange Blossom because that is the note that stands out to me. There is a wee bit of jasmine but it is overwhelmingly orange blossom to my nose. Funny, because they have a Fleur d’Oranger 27 that is even more orange blossomy. I suppose I get a wee bit of jasmine in the top and in the deep dry down, but it matters not, as it is a beautiful white floral perfume and that is what I love. The singular aspect of the two Le Labos I own make them ideal for layering, and layering I do! If you read my blog you know layering perfumes is pretty much What I Do. I recently acquired a Guerlain scent I’d been lusting over and finally found – Guerlain Eau de Lit. Eau de Lit is about as soft as they come and smells like the perfect fruity floral – soft bergamot, neroli warmed up with vanilla, musk, sage and star anise make this so delicious I want to lick my arms. It was created for spraying on your sheets – Eau de Lit translates loosely to “bed water”, which is interesting… – but in my opinion it’s too pretty to just use in bed. My friend Dane says it smells like “pretty water” and he was shocked I didn’t already own a bottle. Now I do!

guerlain eau de lit

So – Eau de Lit with some Le Labo Jasmin 17 balm on my pulse points, on the nape of my neck, decolletage etc. and I am smelling purty…Do you layer your perfumes? What are some of your favourite combinations?

I get my Le Labo perfumes at Gee Beauty in Toronto. FYI-  they ship.

Suresh Royal Jasmine Lip Balm – Kisses Like Flowers

Suresh Royal Jasmine Lip Balm – Kisses Like Flowers

jasmine lip balm

My name is Jane and I am a lip balm junkie. Yes, I admit it! My favourite lip balms are the smooth silky ones that leave a satiny finish on the lips, like La Mer Lip Balm and Chanel Hydramax Lip Care. You may also know that I am a jasmine lover. The scent of jasmine, the queen of flowers, is one of my most favourite perfume notes. So, bundle the two up into one gorgeous product and you have a winner.

From Suresh Beauty website: A decadent balm that intensely nourishes lips. Non-greasy formula infused with Royal Jasmine oil soothes, heals, and protects dry, damaged, chapped lips. Delivers long-term comfort by maintaining optimum hydration levels. Handcrafted with a potent multivitamin complex and moisture-rich ingredients including olive fruit oil, soybean oil, beeswax, and carnauba wax. Accents of Tahitian Vanilla oil calm the senses. Emollient, lip conditioning, and lip brightening.

cleopatra kiss

It feels smooth and gentle on the lips and just glides beautifully on. It feels healing going on and my poor dry lips feel immediately hydrated. But the scent is what takes me over the edge. It smells like beautiful tropical jasmine, like the most delicate perfume. I was rhapsodizing over Suresh Royal Jasmine Lip Balm the other day, calling it “perfume for my lips” when the brilliant Phillip Picardi (Beauty Editor at Lifestyle Mirror) reminded me of something. Legend has it Cleopatra used to dab perfume on her upper lip, so that when a lover kissed her, he would have something to remember her by – I remember reading this in a Vogue piece about a perfume party Shiva Rose hosted with Mandy Aftel. It stuck with me. Did you know legend has it that Cleopatra also scented the sails of her barge?

cleopatra barge

Lips that smell like jasmine? How…romantic.

You can buy Suresh Beauty Royal Jasmine Lip Balm, $21, from the Suresh website or for international shipping, New London Pharmacy in NYC.

Smell Like The Future: Robert Piguet Futur Perfume

Smell Like The Future: Robert Piguet Futur Perfume

Robert Piguet Futur is one of their original fragrances, originally released in the 60s.  At some point it was discontinued, likely due in part to the 60+ ingredients in the original version. Yesterday’s Perfumes has an enchanting review of the vintage formula. It’s been re-released and reworked with published notes of  bergamot, neroli, violet, jasmine, ylang, vetiver, cedar, patchouli. This perfume makes me think of the sounds of brilliantly discordant jazz. It seems haphazard but somehow it works and is strangely beautiful.

Futur is a “green” scent, and true to a good green perfume, I smell a ton of forest and resinous galbanum. It’s not listed as an ingredient but that may just be because by today’s perfume note listing standards, it’s more about advertising than actually listing the “notes”. My first impression of Futur is neon Irish Spring soap in a field of wildflowers. The floral notes just sing, in a gorgeous classical perfume way. I get an impression of floral/green classics like Joy, Ma Griffe, a hint of Miss Dior (original) and even a bit of Guerlain Chamade. The fresh florals give way to sexy jasmine and ylang and then become smoky vetiver. It’s like a ghost of classic perfumes with a crisp clean modern perfume built around it. It is clean and sexy at the same time – the sexy has something to with the woodsy patchouli base. It’s almost like an incense with that intoxicating smoky resinous goodness. I feel engergized when I wear Futur, and like I can do anything. Futur can go from jeans to the boardroom to a night out on the town. I love it, and wish I could try the parfum/extrait version – it must be so dense and gorgeous. The chewy mouth watering green-ness of Futur is addictive. I huff my wrists when I wear it.

Verdict is love, but I would caution buying this without sniffing. It’s not for the faint of heart, even though in the end it dries down to a sexy skin scent that smells like heaven to me. It’s not easy to love, and it doesn’t have the mass appeal of, say, Pink Sugar. If you are willing to step outside of the average perfume box and smell special, you should sniff it out. Also – if you like Irish Spring. Manly, yes, but I like it too….

 

Robert Piguet perfumes are available at specialty department stores, listed here on their website. And at The Perfume Shoppe in Canada. I don’t see Futur on their site but perhaps they can order it in. Ogilvy in Montreal carries the line as well.

Super Sexy Robert Piguet Douglas Hannant. Also, Perfect Party Perfume

Super Sexy Robert Piguet Douglas Hannant. Also, Perfect Party Perfume

Robert Piguet is a fashion house that launched in the early 30s, and is most famously known for it’s bomabstic, gorgeous and take-no-prisoners scents of the 40s. There is Bandit, a naughty and butch leather fragrance, not for the meek, and  also Fracas, a reference tuberose, nay, the Queen of all tuberose perfumes. They were both made by the ahead of her time Germaine Cellier – whose knowledge of fragrance and chemistry led her to create perfumes that not even the most creative types could imagine. Fragrantica has a terrific profile of Cellier here. She used traditional ingredients but at nuclear levels, creating something above and beyond a simple scent. So. Piguet’s Fracas is loved and worn by many people, and though it was discontinued at some point, there was enough of a demand for Piguet to bring it back. It was slightly reformulated by a modern perfumer, mostly due to the legality and availability of the raw materials. It is still a massive tuberose diva, and can only be tamed by some skins. Mine is not one of them. I want to love Fracas! I want to wear Fracas! But sadly, she wore me. She moves in with all her luggage,  turns the music up as loud as it can be, and frightens all the neighbourhood dogs.

Happily for me, Robert Piguet has done some playing with their much beloved/revered/feared Fracas and has come up with some lovely variations on a sexy, gorgeous floral theme. The one I am wearing right now, that is making me swoon, is Douglas Hannant.  Douglas Hannant is a chic and exclusive designer to the upper echelons of society. He’s not common or well known to those outside the circle (that would include yours truly)  and it’s fitting that Robert Piguet would choose a mysterious name to don the house’s signature black opaque glass bottle of this incredible floral beauty. Piguet calls it a “fresher, younger Fracas, with pear on the top with the traditional floral base”. Well, there must be a lot of pear, because it definitely does cut the sweetness and and indolic tendencies of Fracas. I also find the gardenia in the heart is able to shine more in Douglas Hannant, and the pear notes just melt beautifully into the florals. It lasts ages on the skin, and the creamy sandalwood and musk along with a soft and sweet jasmine linger delicately on the skin. Remember, the Victorians would not let young girls smell tuberose, as they were afraid of the carnal and aphrodisiac effect it might have on them. Dangerous perfume? Sign me up.

Don’t get me wrong. This is no shrinking violet of a perfume, nor does it whisper. It still has a strong presence but it’s not a perfume bomb. It is devastatingly feminine, and makes me feel like painting my nails red, putting my hair up, and busting out the highest heels I can find. If you love Fracas, this is worth a sniff. You may find you need both….That said, a small spray of this would be perfect with a soft cashmere sweater and jeans on a cool day, or a silky flowy maxidress on the beach in the warm sunshine. Verdict? Delicate, tasteful and feminine- I love it.  I’ve been wearing this all day and my nose has been glued to my wrist. For me, this says a lot….

Robert Piguet has revamped and re-released all of their scents, along with new and beautiful creations. I have samples of some and will be sharing reviews for those soon. If you get the chance to try them, you must! The line is elegant and gorgeous, and worthy of lots of praise.

 

Robert Piguet Douglas Hannant is available at perfume counters where Piguet is sold, and online from their site. On their homepage they list the department stores that carry their line. Go sniff if you can.

Guerlain Cherry Blossom – Sweet Cherry Green Tea

Guerlain Cherry Blossom – Sweet Cherry Green Tea

I love Guerlain perfumes. I love that they have something for everyone, that they keep the classic legends (like Jicky and Apres L’Ondee) but also keep it modern. They go from heavy to soft and everything in between. I tend to fall hard for the more rare of their offerings so I was happy to see that my latest hard to find love is now in their Parisiennes Collection. It’s Guerlain Cherry Blossom – lovely light and eminently wearable cherry blossom and green tea perfume.  I have the older bottle design, pre-Parisiennes, but will rbe getting a bee bottle soon. Guerlain has been re-releasing then discontinuing perfumes at an alarming rate lately so I dont want to miss out!

Guerlain Les Parisiennes, Cherry Blossom on far left- the perfume is pink! Sooooo pretty

You know- perfume doesn’t always have to groundbreaking. It doesn’t always have to make you squeal or gasp in shocked delight. Sometimes, we just our perfume to smell good….to smell pretty. Guerlain describes the notes as green tea, bergamot, red berries, lilac and jasmine with some powdery notes in the base. And you know what? It smells really pretty. I love it, and find it calming, soothing and as easy to wear as a soft white t shirt. Guerlain scents are so brilliant in that they adapt to the environment. Guerlain Cherry Blossom smells fresh, calming & clean in the heat, and smells gently floral and soothing in cooler weather. It is one of my favoured bed time perfumes. Must be the green tea- always a lovely perfume note. But the sweetness of the cherries balanced with the florals and citrus notes make this just right. Verdict? Love.

This is my pretty litte bottle of Guerlain Cherry Blossom

 

Guerlain Cherry Blossom is part of the Guerlain Les Parisiennes line, available at Guerlain Boutiques and some select Guerlain counters, at around $270 for a 125ml bottle. If you are lucky, you may find an older bottle like mine online. It’s just so cute.

Arquiste Fleur de Louis Perfume- Royal Scent of Peace

Arquiste Fleur de Louis Perfume- Royal Scent of Peace

I was quite keen to try this perfume from the Arquiste line. Arquiste is a niche perfume house from New York, started by Carlos Huber, an architect specializing in historic restoration. The idea he had was to create perfumes that transport the wearer to evocative moments in history. He hires different perfumers, or “noses”, to create the scents. The perfumer he chose to create Fleur de Louis, Rodrigo Flores-Roux, has a very impressive list of scents in his resume , notably Tom Ford Neroli Portofino & Donna Karan Black Cashmere.

Arquiste Fleur de Louis was created to evoke the time in history, around 1660, when a marriage was arranged between Louis XIV and Maria Theresa, the Infanta of Spain. This marriage was a clause in the Treaty of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, to ensure peace between their countries. An island in the Basque region of France, Bidassoa, was declared neutral, and the prince met his bride there. They were later married in St Jean de Luz. I was amazed to read this story, as St Jean de Luz is a special place for my family. We have spent many happy times there over the years, and have attended incredible concerts in the church. We have also driven past the island on our way to Spain, noting that the young couple met there so many centuries ago. I have great love and affection for the Basque region, it’s people and it’s beautiful countryside and beaches, and many happy memories of times spent with my children on the beach in St Jean de Luz.

The church is on the left, on the walking street in St Jean de Luz, on our way to dinner….

So, Fleur de Louis has simple lovely notes that, if you close your eyes and inhale, make you think you could be standing on the shoreline of the river watching the young royals meet for the first time. From the Arquiste website:

“To ensure peace between them, two Royal Courts converge at a richly-appointed pavilion built of freshly cut Pine and Cedar wood. From the French side, in a golden aura of Iris, Rose and Jasmine, emerges a young Louis XIV, all starched and composed, eager to catch a glimpse of his new bride, the Infanta Maria Teresa…”

St Jean de Luz beach at sunset, with Pyrenees mountains in the distance…the view from our balcony.

So the simply lovely notes of iris, rose, jasmine, orange blossom, white pine and cedar make Fleur de Louis an elegant and classic beauty. The florals are beautifully blended and quite soft, with a gentle woodsy musk in the drydown. It wears as a sweet skin scent, and I think it would appeal to a lover of soft florals. The Arquiste bottles are elegant and modern, yet have a classical feel to the script. They have a lovely weight to them, and would look elegant on any nightstand. I plan to review a few more….

Arquiste perfumes are available at select Holt Renfrew stores in Canada. You can find a local stockist here, or shop online.

7 Virtues Afghanistan Orange Blossom: True Beauty in Perfume

7 Virtues Afghanistan Orange Blossom: True Beauty in Perfume

Have you heard of The 7 Virtues, the Canadian perfume company headed up by Barb Stegmann? If you haven’t, please let me share the amazing story behind this company with you. Barb Stegman, the CEO of The 7 Virtues, is an amazing woman, with a compelling mission. I have corresponded with her a bit, as I had asked her for some samples of her perfumes to review. I kept reading lovely things and wanted to know more!

Barb tells me she had a normal life, a good life, and business was good at her firm in BC. Then, the unthinkable happened. Her best friend, a Canadian soldier, was attacked and wounded while in Afghanistan. She spent a year in the hospital with him, visualizing his healing journey with his wife and family. She promised him she would take on his mission of economic empowerment for families in Afghanistan while he healed [I told you – Barb is no ordinary woman]. She realized that she was not a brave soldier, nor was she a world leader with political clout. But, as a North American, she felt she didn’t have a way to touch peace. Yet- she knew she had buying power. She began writing her book and dedicating it to her friend- The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen. The 7 virtues are: Wonder, Moderation, Truth, Courage, Justice, Wisdom and Beauty. She told me that her fragrances are the thesis rising up out of her book. The principles of the book, the stoic wisdom she has is the action through the fragrances. With her best friend’s mission in mind, Barb read about this gentleman named Abdullah Arsala. He was growing the legal crops of orange blossom and rose to provide an alternative to the illegal poppy crop. Barb knew Abdullah was the way to peace. She reached out to him and began to purchase his legal oils for her fragrance collection. She has invested over $100,000 legal dollars in Afghanistan instead of the illegal poppy crops. This liberates farmers and is her way of helping to build peace. Every time  The 7 Virtues sells a fragrance, they can buy more oils to liberate farmers from the same oppressors that attacked her dear friend. Again. No ordinary woman.

Ok. Now that I have warmed your hearts and restored your faith in humanity, let’s talk about perfume! The 7 Virtues Afghanistan Orange Blossom is what I am wearing today, and let me tell you- I love it. If you click the orange blossom tag on my blog you’ll know it is a favourite note of mine, and that I am a sucker for the scent of orange blossom. It’s a sensual and warm floral note, and The 7 Virtues Orange Blossom is that and more. It has the rich creamy deliciousness of orange blossom that I so adore, yet it seems to sparkle on the skin like raindrops. It’s not heady or heavy, and even if you are a little shy of floral scents, you need to try this one. There is a light sprinkling of jasmine and freesia that balance the orange blossom beautifully. The freesia adds freshness and a green aspect, with a little bit of a peppery note, which keeps the orange blossom and jasmine from being too sweet. It’s beautifully balanced, and brings to mind a beautiful orange blossom soap I got in France years ago. Afghanistan Orange Blossom smells pretty, fresh and clean. Verdict? I love it. It’s soothing and easy to wear, and I’ve already had a few compliments….which always works for me! So, if you want to smell AND feel wonderful, get The 7 Virtues Afghanistan Orange Blossom, and watch Daly Beauty for more reviews and a surprise….

Here is one more thing from Barb. Remember her dear friend, the soldier who was wounded in Afghanistan? He was the best man at her wedding this summer. As Barb said to me “We can leave a better footprint than we found. It is possible”. Thank you, Barb. And thanks too, to Brett Wilson, her partner and mentor. He took a chance on her perfume when she visited The Dragon’s Den.

The 7 Virtues perfumes are available across Canada at The Bay, on Air Canada Duty Free, and, starting in November, Daly Beauty is thrilled to announce that American buyers will be able to buy The 7 Virtues perfumes at Lord & Taylor! You can also buy directly from The 7 Virtues website