Nature is the Ultimate Luxury - Northwest Essence - Niche Perfumery

Posted on February 02, 2015 by Matriarch Blog

CHRISTI MESHELL, the owner and nose behind the Bellevue-based line House of Matriarch High Perfumery, dips her finger into a jar of tobacco-leaf extract and rubs some on the top of my hand, and in an instant I am transported back decades to my grandfather’s tobacco farm in Kentucky. Sticky-sweet tobacco leaves, old barns, haylofts, manure — the scent-memory is unblemished, like a perfectly preserved photograph.

It gives me goose bumps.

Meshell, with her flowing black hair, sumptuous silk prints, sparkly platform heels and fairy goddess grin, is an agent provocateur of scent, melding wildly intriguing elements into luxury fragrances that defy easy descriptions.

She was raised in oil country — Port Arthur, Texas — but she’s a Northwest hippie medicine woman at heart. Every morning she drinks a glass of water infused with frankincense essence. “It’s good for you,” she insists.

Meshell leads her guests past a to-scale human skeleton hanging by the stairwell that leads up to the plush design studio of her atelier, which is decked out like an eccentric sultan’s parlor (that’s a unicorn bust hanging on one wall; that’s a live white dove perched in a picnic basket by the window; that’s loungy electro by Thievery Corporation blaring on the speaker system).

Meshell sits cross-legged on the floor and begins the interview by burning a series of opulent tree resins: Pine, then dragon’s blood, then oud, which is so precious a piece no bigger than a fingernail costs $5.

The smoke rises and curls like a dancing ghost and forms a cloud above our heads.

“This is the original ‘perfume’ — it literally means ‘through smoke,’ ” Meshell says, during a mini-lesson on the evolution of fragrance, from its use in fumigating living quarters and hair to its use in prayer, ceremonies, courtship and other life pursuits.

Meshell says her sense of smell is so exact, she can tell that a man is smoking a Cohiba cigar from a block away. She says she can smell textures, too. Put a cactus close to her face and its physical prickliness will tickle her imagination.

“Your nose is kind of the last real touch point to the natural world,” she says. “It’s like you’re being touched by nature.”

This allows Meshell to work like a collage artist, composing multilayered fragrances with spectacular resonance that project something of the wearer onto everyone who comes near.

“It’s the last thing you put on before leaving the house,” Meshell says. “It’s that mood that you carry with you, your essence, your invisible aura.”

The smell of Puget Sound seaweed mixed with evergreen extracts, cannabis, animal musk and about 300 other ingredients brings a chilled-out, mystical and sexy vibe to the Blackbird perfume Meshell made in a collaboration with the Seattle fragrance brand.

For some customers, she says, her long-lasting, $120 to $300 full-size perfumes are the only material indulgence they allow themselves.

As Meshell shows off a wall-length bookshelf with hundreds of bottled ingredients, she says that some are derived directly from the Pacific Northwest. A blazingly intense lavender essence comes from plants grown in Redmond. She makes seaweed essence with washed-up kelp she gathers on beach walks.

Her favorite place to visit is the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula with its hanging moss.

“This is the last enchanted forest, and we live in it,” Meshell says of the Northwest in general.

“Nature,” she says, “is the ultimate luxury.”

Tyrone Beason is a Seattle Times, Pacific NW Magazine staff writer. He can be reached at tbeason@seattletimes.com. Alan Berner is a Seattle Times staff photographer.

Posted in agent provocateur of scent, american made, art and business, artisan, artisan fragrance, artisan perfume, Bellevue-based, cannabis, christi meshell, custom fragrance, custom perfume, eastside, Enchanted forest, enchanted forests, evergreen extracts, fine fragrance, fragrance design, fragrance house, high perfumery, Hoh Rain Forest, hookah perfume, house of matriarch, indie perfume, indie perfumer, Local perfume, locally sourced, luxury fragrance, luxury perfume, matriarch, natural, natural perfume, natural perfume manufacturer, natural perfumes, nature, nature is the ultimate luxury, new luxury brand, new natural perfumes, new perfumes, niche, niche fragrance, northwest, Northwest Essence, northwest hippie, olfaction, Olympic Peninsula, original perfume, Pacific Northwest, Pacific NW Magazine, perfume house, Perfumer, private label fragrance, Puget Sound seaweed, raw materials, Redmond Lavender, Seattle, seattle art, seattle fragrance, Seattle fragrance brand, seattle perfume, The Seattle Times, through smoke, tobacco, top artisan perfumes, ultimate luxury, united states, vegan perfumes, washington, west coast, woman owned business

"Oh my stars, daft love behind the curtain!" House of Matriarch throws down three new fragrance tracks

Posted on January 01, 2015 by Matriarch Blog

1/1/15
House of Matriarch "Nose" Christi Meshell has just released a DISCO EDITION trio of perfumes for Carlos Powell's Peace, Love & Perfume Project.  Ever inspired by song in her fragrance designs, this project allowed Christi to go "all the way" with her craft of blending liquid music.  Numerous members of the Peace, Love & Perfume community (700+members) "listened in" during the early stages and contributed their submissions for how they imagined the three songs would "smell". 
The perfumes are handcrafted from the highest quality essences from around the world, and contain over 70% organic materials.  There are no fragrance oils or pre-mixed bases.  Each perfume stands alone, yet the collection was designed to allow for blending any two or even all three. What fun!
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Samples come in adorable 3ml micro-beakers, with an extra beaker for mixing at home.  Vanity bottles are made from shiny disco balls!
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The Stars on 45 Medley is "OH, MY STARS!"  Disco in liquid form.  Unapologetically vintage. TOP:  iris, davana, mimosa, cannabis, shiso, geranium.  HEART:  patchouli, rose, amber, agarwood, jasmine, lily.  BASE: ambrette musk, tobacco, orris root, labdanum, East Indian sandalwood.

Digital Love by Daft Punk is "DAFT LOVE"  Irresistible musky gourmand.  Dreamy and ultra powdery.  TOP:  white ginger, baby powder, broom, carnation.  HEART:  rose, powder pouf, cedar, clove, hay.  BASE: oakmoss, vanilla, heliotrope, white musk, sandalwood, tobacco.

Perfume Laboratory by LOPAZZ is "BEHIND THE CURTAIN"  Strange brew: inky and indefinable.  The X factor of the collection.  TOP: black currant, chaste tree berry, raspberry, elder flower, honeysuckle.  HEART: tropical woods, cassie, peony, leather, lychee, white amber, ylang ylang.  BASE;  powder, white musk, vanilla, orris root, oud, patchouli.

Posted in american made, arrtisan, art, artisan, artisan fragrance, artisan perfume, artist, beauty, best, christi meshell, conceptual fragrance, daft punk, design, digital love, disco, fine fragrance, fragrance creation, fragrance design, house of matriarch, inspired, liquid music, lopazz, luxury fragrance, matriarch, music, natural perfumes, new perfumes, niche fragrance, peace love perfume, perfume, perfume house, perfume laboratory, seattle, seattle art, seattle perfume, songs, stars on 45, top artisan perfumes

Matriarch Perfumes Adored at TAG's Emmy Celebrity Gift Lounge

Posted on August 30, 2014 by Matriarch Blog

House of Matriarch perfume were featured at GBK's pre-Primetime Emmys Celebrity Gift Lounge, an invitation-only luxury celebrity gift lounge hosted by The Artisan Group on August 23-24, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California, in honor of the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards nominees and presenters.  

Matriarch was honored to be the only fragrance brand in recent years invited to participate in this elite event.  Luxury fragrances Blackbird & Coco Blanc were prominently displayed, and all 100+ attending celebrities were gifted with mini's of both perfumes in their VIP gift bags.  Motion picture Matriarch Angela Bassett (an enthusiastic advocate of the arts and artisan crafted products) sported both fragrances at the event: one on each arm!   

As a scotch connoisseur, Jamie Gray Hyder, co-star of Graceland has a discerning olfactory palate.  Here she enjoys the gourmand notes of Coco Blanc.

 

       

The stunning Dascha Polanco, co-star of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK,  posing with Matriarch's Coco Blanc. A wedding day fragrance, perhaps?

House of Matriarch's Perfumer Christi Meshell would like to thank The Artisan Group and Valerie Propst Guerrero for selecting House of Matriarch for this star studded event, and for all that they are doing to support artisan craftsmanship. For press inquiries regarding The Artisan Group, please visit http://www.theartisangroup.org or email press@theartisangroup.org

 

Posted in angela bassett, artisan fragrance, artisan perfume, beauty, blackbird, dascha polanco, emmy, gbk, gifting, graceland, house of matriarch, jamie gray hyder, luxury fragrance, matriarch, meaningful luxury, natural perfume, niche fragrance, orange is the new black, primetime, valerie propst guerrero

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