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!

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

 

It’s Raining In My Perfume: Miller Harris La Pluie

 

Miller Harris is a London niche perfumer who has quite a following worldwide. Their scents range from soft and elegant to challenging and interesting, meaning there really is something for everyone. I have liked a few, Jasmin Vert and Figue Amere being two that stand out in my memory. I am now enjoying one of their newer releases - Miller Harris La Pluie. Translated to “the rain” this lastest offering from Miller Harris perfumes is  what I would call a perfect warm weather perfume. La Pluie also won Best Niche Fragrance 2012 at the Cosmopolitan Fragrance Awards, which only made me want to try it more!
From the Miller Harris website:
La Pluie eau de parfum conjures the inky blue-black of clouds heavy with rain and the heightened sense of expectancy before a thunderstorm, this fragrance is richly suggestive of tropical showers and the balmy climate of a far away island

Well doesn’t that sound lovely! It really does have a weight to it, but it is like the heaviness of water, not of perfume notes. It smells like walking through a warm rain surrounded by lots of greenery and flowers. The green and floral notes combine beautifully, into a impression of the air, rather than one specific flower. With perfumes like this, the list of notes is almost irrelevant. You certainly can get notes of white flowers, but just when you think “jasmine!” it becomes “orange blossom”. And there is a humid aspect to these flowers, which I think comes from the cassie (acacia) which is a sweet yet ‘foggy” scent, but also the green, watery & almost aquatic feel of mimosa. It dries down gently to a crisp vetiver note sweetened with a touch of vanilla, but maintains the watery feeling throughout the wearing. It is a soft scent, and would be a perfect choice for someone who likes their perfumes gentle and soft, but still interesting. It is lovely to smell the slow transition Miller Harris La Pluie makes on the skin, and then enjoy the soft kiss of rain-like scent that lingers on the skin. Verdict? Lovely.

 

On my radar right now: Miller Harris candles. I think La Pluie would be incredible as a scent wafting through the house, so calming and soothing.

I got my Miller Harris La Pluie from MIN New York, an amazing shop that ships anywhere & has excellent customer service- they will include samples of other things you might want to try with your order as well. You can also order from the Miller Harris UK website.