Have you ever noticed how there are some perfumes and colognes you really enjoy smelling but you don't necessarily want to wear them? You can enjoy the aroma of many things - but you may not want to smell like all of them or carry their odor throughout an entire day.
Have you every enjoyed a flight of wine? The sensations and juxtapositions of different flavors opening onto your palate in such a non-committal way can be a wonderful voyage - sometimes you discover a new favorite that you would have never thought to order.
For fragrance connoisseurs, perfume discovery becomes a "rabbit hole" sort of passion when the breadth and detail of the art begins to be revealed through copious sampling. By releasing the pressure of a fragrance needing to be "full bottle worthy" or a "proper toiletry" to be relevant, fragrance enthusiasts can appreciate a fragrance for the journey it provides as they enjoy the fragrance in a detached manner.
Many fragrance collectors don't even perfume themselves on a daily basis - but they may sniff ten or more perfumes in a day to fuel their passion for fragrance. Many professional perfumers admit to almost never wearing perfumes themselves. Their work provides enough olfactory stimulation and satiates the need for scent.
And then there are those who say "fragrance saved my life". One popular fragrance reviewer attests that his perfume sampling and reviewing gave him such an intense sensory satisfaction that it assisted in helping him kick an addiction to heroin. He's been a fragrance journalist for going on twenty years now - and he's still clean.
Like with any experience from music to dining - ordering a sample of a fragrance that challenges you (rather than being pleasing to the nose; but otherwise uninteresting) can be a very rewarding experience - you might learn something about yourself in the process of the dry down. The way we react to a scent can be a wonderful tool for self discovery and even healing.
House of Matriarch reveals the costs associated with their HIGH PERFUMERY creations explaining why their fragrances for both men and women are more costly than designer scents.
1) QUALITY & COMPLEXITY OF BLENDS House of Matriarch perfumes are between 95 and 100 percent natural. Blends are very complex with between 100 and 300 individual notes. Many of the raw materials are scarce and highly valued - in the world of perfumery they are known as "noble materials". In comparing the market price on the commonly used essences of natural jasmine, rose and sandalwood against their synthetic replacements you will notice that those natural raw materials are on average 100x more expensive. Natural fixatives of ambergris, hyraceum and ambrette add an additional layer of luxury (and their associated cost) to the formula.
2) SUPERIOR DISTILLATE The ethanol used to create House of Matriarch perfumes is distilled from Washington grown, organic grapes in the copper still pictured below - it happens right here in Seattle at the famous Glass Distillery. Mass market perfumes are blended with industrially distilled corn alcohol with de-naturants added. (The real culprit behind most "perfume allergies") The distillate used to create our perfumes is 10x more expensive than regular "perfumers alcohol - it is pure enough for creating medicinal tinctures and for pharmaceutical compounding - it also considered Halal. Ethanol comprises up to 70% of the fragrance and is the secret for creating a perfume that improves with time, instead of degrading after a few years like mass produced fragrances. House of Matriarch perfumes are the only brand marked with the vintage year - because this kind of ethanol allows the perfume to improve with each passing year like a fine wine.
3) HANDMADE Matriarch perfumes are produced by hand in small batches and filled by our Pefumer by hand in Seattle, WA. Designer fragrances are made by machine; mostly in overseas factories with no personal touch. House of Matriarch offers a direct connection to the Perfumer - there are no other fragrance house involved - this is rare and special.
4) RELEVANCE EQUALS VALUE House of Matriarch perfumes do not smell like anything else on the market. There are no short-cuts or less expensive ways of achieving this level of relevance and distinctiveness without the materials and methods that we use to make our perfumes. Mark-up is slim compared to the designer brands who add thousands of percentage points to the actual cost of production to cover the costs of issuing countless free samples and to compensate expensive spokes models. This makes House of Matriarch perfumes a better VALUE than other perfumes.
5) WORTH THE PRICE Artisan perfumes are not for everyone - they are not simple toiletries - they are aimed at the connoisseur who is looking for an elevated fragrance experience and who expects to pay more for the qualities our perfumes embody. Many people who cannot wear conventional fragrances due to allergies find House of Matriarch perfumes delightful. In this case, the price informs the customer of the quality they can expect when they experience our fragrances.
As always, let your nose decide!
In celebration of the 7th Anniversary of ÇaFleureBon, eight perfumers were invited to create perfumes drawing inspiration from a brief written by the blog's founder and Editor in Chief, Michelyn Camen. Her request called for a perfume powerful enough to attract good fortune and ward off negativity - even the dreaded curse of the "evil eye". House of Matriarch created ANTIMONY in response to Michelyn's brief.
Charred frankincense, kewra, henna, Palo Santo, galangal, sandalwood ashes, spikenard, ghee, copal, oud and precious attars of mitti, kadam and rose have all been used to create enchanted cosmetics throughout history. They are all notes used in the formulation of this beautiful talismanic perfume which contains exactly 111 individual notes. Subtle by design, exotic florals push up from a primitive base to bloom on your skin as they emanate like an ancient wisp of fine bakhoor.
These ancient aromas transport the wearer like a magic carpet to a dimension where cosmetics have magical purposes - the very essence of "a glamour." A nod to a forgotten lifetime when eye shadow was compounded from powdered minerals, oils and the ashes of incense and applied by a shaman or priestess or in wealthy kingdoms, a Court Perfumer.
The minerals antimony and malachite have been among those used around the eyes throughout time due to their reflective properties - they ricochet bad vibes like mirrors. Since they are considered toxic (the alchemists would argue otherwise) they have been banned from use in cosmetics. Mystics and folk healers around the world still use them for their prehistorical purposes in treating ailments of mind and spirit and for compounding sacred cosmetics.
High Perfumery is a branch of Epicureanism. Those familiar with the philosophies of Epicureanism know that the goals are beauty, inspiration and tranquility - the same goals of fine fragrance creation. Here, I share my Manifesta of High Perfumery - the 8 standards which can elevate a perfume from a mere scent to a work of High Art.
Epicureanism must be distinguished from hedonism, which always involves a negative aftermath - a price to pay. If the restraint necessary for the practice of Epicureanism is lost, the pleasure is corrupted into divine discontent and dis-ease ensues. A perfume can be exceptionally beautiful and alluring, however if it does not meet the standards of Epicureanism, it cannot be considered High Perfumery.
NATURE IS THE ULTIMATE LUXURY
"House" (aka Creative House) is the industry term for a company that independently designs and produces perfume. A "Nose" (aka Perfumer) works from a fragrance organ composing fragrances (or flavors) from base materials to create accords that are arranged into the final product. Like a composer that creates music, the Perfumer knows every note inside and out - they could play "blindfolded" so to speak. They write their own music, drawing inspiration from a multitude of sources, and can deliver on a brief. Like musicians, each perfumer has a certain "style" or "sound".
"Brands" are re-sellers of perfumes they purchase from "houses". Many people mistakenly refer to "brands" as "houses". This is inaccurate and also misleading as it implies that the brand is the designer and producer of the perfume rather than a re-seller. Going back to the music reference, brands would be akin to the "record label", not the orchestra.
On the part of the reviewers and fragrance critics, this is just an innocent mistake of the uninformed. However, when done by the brand itself in a direct attempt to deceive the customer into believing they are the creator of the fragrance, it really stinks because the misinformation (aka "marketing campaign") trickles down to the early adopters and brand evangelists, making them an accessory to the deception.
When a brand owner, aka "Creative Director" brazenly poses as the Perfumer creating the juice, things get even choppier - and this exact indiscretion has burst the bubbles of a few notable brands in recent years. Milli Vanilli, anyone?
All houses can have "brands" and many houses have several brands in their portfolios, however, 98% of brands are NOT houses and should not be referred to as such. Consider this important point of distinction: there are hundreds of thousands of brands that sell perfume but only a handful of "Creative Fragrance Houses" worldwide.
Do you know which house produces the perfume your wearing (or writing about)? Have you wondered why so many perfumes smell the same? Hopefully learning the distinction between brands and houses will help you understand the answers to these questions, and invite you to ask new questions. One thing is for sure, in today's age of transparency, there are fewer and fewer secrets about the mystical world of fragrance.
More than 30% of women and nearly 40% of men have SPECIFIC ANOSMIA - olfactory blind spots which impact their evaluation of fragrances.
Now you can put your olfactory sense to the test to discover what you may be missing with the first of it's kind PERFUME SPECIFIC ANOSMIA TEST PANEL compiled by our Perfumer Christi Meshell. The panel tests your detection of eight common anosmic materials commonly found in fine fragrances that could be affecting your perfume evaluations and creations. Most are base notes, all are cruelty free and the kit employs both natural and synthetic materials.
Once you learn your results, the remainder of your sample can be used to train your nose to more effectively detect the odors you had difficulty smelling - or perhaps couldn't smell at all. There have been amazing clinical successes in decreasing 'thresholds of detection' in both men and women who have used this method to increase their sensitivity to aromas that were previously a challenge to detect.
For those who take smelling seriously, this panel is a must! Brand owners, creative directors and fragrance critics can now be sure they are among the 60% who can "smell it all" before they begin impressing their ideas and creations onto the rest of the smelling world!
The economically priced kit includes an email consultation with Christi regarding your results after your test is complete. Score perfect results and you will receive a "Perfect Nose" certificate which you can proudly share on your website or blog.
*DISCLAIMER: This panel is for fun, education and self discovery - results do not constitute a medical diagnosis, nor is there a guarantee that improvement in olfaction will result from studying with this kit. All results are being kept confidential.