I’m really excited to share today’s brand with you. Jade Forest Co. is another house I found on Instagram through the #solidperfume hashtag. For months, I pored over their IG’s lush photographs of delicate blossoms sprinkled across creamy smears of plant butters, bees swarming a honeycomb dripping with golden nectar, edible-looking tinctures and piles of greens that looked more like a garden-fresh salad than a bundle destined for the steam-distillation basket. It was a feast for the eyes, and just what I needed as an urban dweller with no car, trapped here in my concrete jungle since last March. And of course, it was all a wonderful way to introduce a new perfume brand whose launch date was set for Halloween 2020.
Jade Forest Co. describes itself as “Seed To Perfume™” and that is both a pithy slogan and an accurate description of one of the most unique things about this house. Founder/perfumer Jade Violet (such a perfect name for a perfumer!) and her family cultivate on their farm and harvest from their forest many of the flowers, herbs, roots, etc. that will be used to compose the perfumes. From these plants, she distills essential oils and creates absolutes, concretes, waxes, resinoids, and enfleurages (see the brand’s FAQ’s for an explanation of enfleurage if you’re not familiar) for use in the end products. She documents the process with stunning, high-quality photographs on both Jade Forest Co.’s main IG and its sister IG account, SeedToPerfume. I recommend both IG accounts for any perfume lover–they’re beautiful and highly informative about the perfume-making process, even if you’re not a user of natural perfumes. Those interested in delving deeper should check out the official seedtoperfume.com website (currently under construction for a 2021 kick-off), an educational platform on which Jade will share techniques for crafting plant-based fragrance ingredients and composing perfumes.
Jade Forest Co. launched on Halloween 2020 with a large collection of solid and liquid natural perfumes, with some fragrances available in both formats. The line-up has expanded since launch to include additional fragrances, special holiday editions, hydrosols produced by Jade and a set of solid natural hair perfumes. (Hair perfumes have been trendy in the commercial perfumery world for the last couple years, and I am excited to see a natural perfume house getting in on the action. Solid perfumes work really well for scenting the hair and taming flyaways.) I ordered just a few days after launch, and honestly, there were so many scents with notes listings that looked beautiful on paper that it was hard to choose which fragrances to sample. Since the house was brand new, I also didn’t have any reviews or customer feedback to rely on. After carefully studying the scent descriptions, I made my initial selections based on favorite notes: jasmine, tuberose, frankincense, fruity notes…
I chose well, with a favorite emerging from the samples I chose, and I plan to try more from this house in the future. (As short as my pixie cut is, those hair perfumes are also still calling my name…) My choices? Laudanum, Queen of the Night and Pomona. Jade also included a couple of samples with my order–Fawn Skin and Electra, and one of those has also become a favorite.
I had earmarked Laudanum after seeing the IG post about it, before the brand officially launched: “Poppy Milk drips from the mouth of the flower, the golden sunshine baking it to a sticky black spun sugar…” She had me at “poppy milk.” The notes list (and remember, “notes” are not the same thing as “ingredients” in perfumes–the ingredients list is long and includes things I don’t specifically smell as notes, such as caraway seed) on this one also includes jasmine, amber, cinnamon, spices, frankincense, myrrh, incense, tobacco smoke, oud and more. I expected a decadent, spicy oriental and that’s exactly what I experienced with Laudanum. This is a perfect fragrance for cooler weather and it performs beautifully in the solid format, imparting the warmth of a cup of chai through the hypnotic smoke of incense smoldering on charcoal. It’s not a gourmand, but rather an Oriental fragrance in the most classical sense, heavy on the amber and resins but lifted with a hint of floral and wafts of spice. Laudanum is thoroughly unisex and both my husband and I have enjoyed wearing it this season. It’s a complex perfume that unfolds and evolves over the ten hours (yes! truly!) that it lasts on skin.
Queen of the Night is a must-try if you’re a fan of tuberose. In commercial perfumes, tuberose is often buried in a floral bouquet, or sweetened with coconut and tropical fruits. I like the effect of tuberose in fragrances like that, but to sniff Queen of the Night is to experience tuberose on a whole new level. Featuring Jade Forest Co.‘s handcrafted tuberose enfleurage and enfleurage extrait, Queen of the Night showcases not only the floral facet of tuberose, but also a black licorice facet, a minty/mentholic one, a sweet fruity one, one that has a rubbery bicycle tire aroma and more. I smell the tuberose I know and love from Piguet’s Fracas in there, but I smell so much beyond that, too. It’s a loud fragrance, but as a natural solid perfume, even its highest volume is much more tolerable than a synthetic tuberose fragrance. People who like tuberose but feel it’s too strong for them to wear (or who get a headache from it) may find they can enjoy it in a natural tuberose perfume, and Queen of the Night would be a great one to try. The sillage is good but not overpowering, and the longevity is three to four hours.
My third selection, Pomona, is my favorite of the three. (Ask me again in a few months and it could change, but this cheerful fragrance was just what I needed as Autumn gave way to the darker days of Winter.) Fruity notes are difficult to achieve in natural perfumery, and their effect is often pretty muted and/or short-lived, so the strength of the fruit aromas in Pomona was a wonderful surprise. Opening the little clamshell released an intense fruit aroma that brought to mind a stick of Fruit Stripe chewing gum, which made me smile. In Pomona, we find fruity notes in all their forms: tart, green and crisp; juicy and dripping with nectar at the peak of ripeness; and harvested fruits ready for pie-baking or preserve-making. Osmanthus flowers impart a delicious peachy-nectarine aspect to the fragrance but I also get whiffs of cherry, strawberry, plum… So many perfumes today offer us fruit in the form of technicolor fruit punch or fruit with vanilla cake frosting, and while I enjoy those scents, Pomona offers an opportunity to step back and appreciate the natural beauty of fruits in their pristine state, accompanied but not overpowered by the scents of fruit trees and blossoms, just as we would encounter them in a grove or garden. Longevity is about three hours, but it’s a pleasure to reapply and experience again that intense fruity blast of the opening.
The packaging of these samples was absolutely lovely and was like opening a little gift. A beautiful hand-written card in an envelope embossed with sealing wax accompanied the ribbon-tied green box adorned with a golden leaf charm. The solid samples were packaged in tiny clamshell compacts, with hand-written labels, all nestled in the box along with dried buds and blossoms and silk leaves. Wrapped in the tissue paper package with all these items was a small green pouch that contained two bonus samples from the brand: a solid sample of Fawn Skin and a liquid sample of Electra.
Fawn Skin was another scent I lingered over when making my selection. I ultimately chose Pomona and have no regrets there, but I was happy to find a sample of Fawn Skin included in my package. This one has also captured my heart! The name truly sets the mood for this perfume. If you’re a fan of gentle white musk scents, powdery fragrances and “your skin, but better” perfumes, this is one you’ll enjoy. It’s a pillow-soft fragrance with hints of flowers, warm woody tones, an earthy sweetness and a touch of suede gloves aroma. Fawn Skin announces itself with a gentle whisper and then flies just under the radar, evoking a sense of calm and quiet sensuality with its presence. People around you will just think you smell good and perhaps not realize you’re wearing a perfume. The sillage is close to the skin (perfect for snuggling and intimate moments) and the fragrance lasts about four to five hours.
Electra is a beautiful and complex amber fragrance, featuring some of nature’s most precious ingredients. If you like amber fragrances, this is one you’ll want to try, and it’s available as an oil-based liquid fragrance in a variety of sizes from 1 ml to 10 ml.
This is definitely a new perfume house to watch, and I anticipate talking more about Jade Forest Co. fragrances in a future post. They’re off to an amazing start, with some products and the “bespoke” perfume option already sold out of their initial run. In the meantime, visit the official website to order liquid and solid samples and full-size fragrances and sign up for the brand’s newsletter to keep up with the latest product offerings, including limited editions.
All photographs by me.