Someone knows what I should smell like, organically. They know what you should smell like, too. That’s the shop’s slogan, anyway and it has a wide variety of fragrances that suggest there really might be something for everybody. The person who knows is perfumer Dawn Stewart, who offers fragrances, soaps, lip balms, natural deodorants and skin care products in her Etsy shop, Organic Perfume Girl.
I found this shop while browsing Etsy, where its Lilac Amaranthine solid fragrance came up in a search for “solid perfume.” Organic Perfume Girl is a natural, botanical perfumery and the shop’s description explains Stewart’s mode of operation: “Every concoction you purchase from my shop starts off with a handcrafted tincture or absolute using raw herbs plants, flowers, weeds, beans, and anything I can get my hands on. Then I add only high quality organic and/or wildcrafted essential oils, resins, concretes.” The products are vegan (the lip balms and solids are made with candelilla wax) and cruelty-free.
Organic Perfume Girl offers a large range of solid and liquid fragrances (some in both formats). I saw many unusual notes and accords in the fragrances and I liked the shop’s dark, earthy, Victorian-leaning aesthetic, in both fragrance concepts and visuals. So many of the scents, including that Lilac Amaranthine, intrigued me that I decided to purchase multiple samples, rather than settling on a single large solid to purchase for my first order.
When my shipment arrived, opening the tiny 3″ by 2″ by 2″ box was pure joy. Packed with love from top to bottom, it was bursting with beautifully packaged samples, wonderful extras, a hand-written note from the perfumer and pretty paper and fabric ephemera that I will re-use in future art projects and Instagram photo shoots. Even the interior of the shipping box was stamped with a lovely floral heart illustration. It is obvious that Stewart enjoys her work and wants to provide a pleasurable experience for each customer.
Choosing the scents that made up my order was hard, but in the end, I was guided somewhat by the availability of certain fragrances in liquid or solid format. I was intrigued by Mimosa Flower Tea, which was available only in solid format, so I chose a 2 gr solid sample for that one. The other solid fragrances I wished to sample were also available in liquid format, so I chose the Tiny Samples Set–three sample vials with enough juice to sample each scent once (or if you’re me, two or three times–I apply sparingly for sampling purposes). My choices for the Tiny Samples were that Lilac Amaranthine I had first found, Ganesh and Dragon. Along with the samples I purchased, Organic Perfume Girl included a sample of Halloween Spice solid perfume, a Vanilla Oak perfume fixative (not available in the shop at this time), and a liquid sample of Flora and Fauna (also not available in the shop yet).
All of the fragrances are beautiful and well-crafted, but sampling is always a good idea when it’s available, and I’m glad I chose samples before diving in completely. Being natural perfumes, there are a few things all of the scents have in common and which were in line with my expectations, as an experienced natural perfume appreciator (and former natural perfume creator): the sillage on all is intimate (a few inches above skin); the longevity on all is typical for a natural perfume, in the two to three hour range (with the exception of Ganesh); all are remarkably complex scents that shift and evolve over time on the skin.
I like Ganesh but it is a bit more aromatic and smoky than I would wear as a personal perfume. It is described as a “Meditation perfume” by the perfumer and would probably serve well for that purpose. It goes on smoky, almost medicinal and dries down to an unusual resinous aroma that brings to mind the scent of my hands freshly-washed with soap after pumping gasoline–that mix of clean, soapy floral with just a trace of the petrol remaining. It’s a unique and pleasant aroma, but not a fragrance I would wear to the office or on a date. On the other hand, my husband enjoyed this one very much. The longevity on this one was good, pushing close to six hours.
Dragon is a delicate daffodil/yellow flowers perfume that I do like. It goes on smelling like actual flower petals and leaves, becoming a little woodier as it dries. My hunch is that these gentle blossoms and soft greens will perform best with a little alcohol to lift them. If I do purchase this one, I think I’ll stick to the liquid format I tested here.
Lilac Amaranthine knocked my socks off, which is what I hoped would happen. Most synthetic lilac perfumes don’t even come close to the beauty of the actual flower. This one features lilac tincture in the liquid format (or lilac enfleurage in the solid) and it smells like the gorgeous lilac bush in full spring bloom. It’s the real deal, folks! But it doesn’t stop there, winding through sweet vanilla-floral, hints of chocolate and a little black licorice aroma as the lilac wafts in and out. If you like the scent of lilac, this one is a safe blind buy, at least in the liquid format. I am torn between buying a bigger size of this one in liquid or solid format. Maybe I’ll buy both! Watch this space for a more detailed discussion of the solid.
Mimosa Flower Tea is a blend of mimosa flower and steeped dark Emperor’s Puerh Tea absolute. On my skin, it opens as a lovely dried flowers and straw aroma, with a hint of bitterness. The tea takes over shortly thereafter and the fragrance is by turns spicy, woody and bitter green. Tea-lovers will enjoy this one, but if you don’t enjoy the aroma and taste of tea, it may not be for you. I like this one very much and will happily use my 2 gr sample.
The longevity of Mimosa Flower Tea is brief, at about two hours–natural beauty is often fleeting and natural perfume lovers accept this. I tried it over the Vanilla Oak fixative sample that Organic Perfume Girl included. This gave the fragrance a slight improvement in longevity, but crushed the delicate opening notes under the wood, just a little bit. There are likely occasions where that may be a tradeoff worth making, but I also don’t have a problem just re-applying when the scent fades. It would be impossible to overdo it with Mimosa Flower Tea.
The solid sample freebie I received, Halloween Spice, was a pleasant surprise. I had not expected to like the fragrance so much, but now I’m also considering a purchase of this one. If you like the pumpkin spice goodies of autumn (lattes, donuts, pumpkin bars, etc.), you’ll enjoy this fragrance. If you’re a fan of chai with milk or cream, you’ll like this one, too. It’s more of a spiced tea aroma than a spiced baked goods smell. It’s definitely not just for Halloween and will be a lovely fragrance to wear all fall and winter. Organic Perfume Girl describes this as a “sweater weather” fragrance and I couldn’t agree more.
The liquid sample freebie I received, Flora and Fauna, is beautiful and unusual and I’m curious as to the actual notes, since it is not listed in the shop at this time. It goes on a bit sour and fruity, but two hours in, it smells of flower petals and a bit of cinnamon, with a bit of… patchouli? I can’t parse any individual notes beyond that but it was a pleasant experience and the longevity was three hours on this one.
This house is definitely one to watch. Other intriguing scents available in liquid format include Dead & Lovely, Mama Was an Opium Smoker, Dirty Cherries and Clove Cigarette. I can think of many perfume friends who will want to check those out based on the names alone, and wait until you see the notes! Have you tried any fragrances from Organic Perfume Girl? Which ones are calling to you?
All photographs by me. All links because I love.