Hello, friends! If you follow me on IG, you’ve already seen my series of giveaways celebrating 1,000 IG followers. I’m currently running a pair of giveaways–one for U.S. only, one for International–for the winners’ choice of lockets from The Lovely Muse Apothecary. Please see my IG post and enter by Wednesday, March 2, 2022, if you’d like to participate. As I noted in my previous blog post, with a small following like mine, your odds of winning are pretty good.
In my time as a perfume lover, and in particular when I was working for Fragrantica, I had opportunities to try many unique-smelling fragrances. “Unique-smelling” was a broad category that encompassed both unusual/one-of-a-kind scents and experiential scents that turned my stomach. However, trying lots of scents, even the experiential ones that smelled like a dirty zoo or body fluids (blech), was nothing if not interesting. It helped me figure out what types of scents I enjoy, as well as what I want a fragrance to “do” for me. My moods and scents will vary, but at minimum, I want wearing a fragrance to be a pleasant experience for me and for the people who encounter me when I wear it.
I’ll now take a good crowd-pleaser over an experiential scent, no matter the price or maker. I am done with trying to wrap my nose around a weird, jarring, often quite expensive and ultimately malodorous scent, just because the fragrance snobs say it’s one I should love. I’ve learned to trust my nose and my gut and I own my taste. You’re free to wear Kouros and Secretions Magnifique all you want–just don’t wear them around me, please.
I’m a little behind in all the perfume reviews I hope to write, but with the current giveaway in progress, this feels like a good time to talk about some recent acquisitions from The Lovely Muse Apothecary. (And I have more to write about beyond these three–Aurelia Corvinus is a prolific perfumer and between purchases, gifts, samples, etc., I can easily fill a few more blog posts.) The three scents I’m going to talk about today–Tea & Honey, First Snowfall and Ophelia White Ginger & Amber–are different from one another but have a “vibe” in common: they’re scents that I find both comforting and beautiful.
Comforting AND beautiful. That’s a harder space to hold than you might imagine. Comfort scents run the risk of being too simple (though simple is often beautiful in its own way) and too gourmand/sweet. How many of what people describe as their “comfort” foods are a dessert or sweet treat of some kind? Beauty, besides being in the eye of the beholder, is often the antithesis of comfort–bold and dazzling like a botanical garden, or rarified and elusive like an Hermès Birkin bag. Aurelia manages to strike the perfect balance of familiar and unexpected, loud and soft, precious and abundant in creating these three fragrances.
Tea & Honey is the perfume that put this brand on the map, thanks to an Instagram Live from TV personality Nicole Walters. I assure you this scent is worth the hype. This is the best tea fragrance I’ve tried–better than L’Artisan Parfumeur, better than the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea series, better than L’Occitane. Realistic black tea notes and the scent of raw honey are supported by bergamot, lemon, orange, star jasmine, white cedarwood and amber. The fragrance goes on loud but settles quickly to intimate sillage. It’s a complex, shape-shifting floral amber that will have you sniffing your wrist all day long and you’ll enjoy that whiff of honey each time. (Pro tip: if you like honey scents, try a solid scent made with beeswax, such as this one, for naturally amplified honey notes.) I can’t think of any occasion for which Tea & Honey is unsuitable. It’s nice for cozy days at home, with a blanket, a book and a cat by your side. It’s fine for office and your co-workers will notice but not be distracted by its gentle aroma. Applied with a heavier hand, it even has enough mystery for evening. I get about six hours of wear with this one, with intimate sillage fading to a skin scent towards the end.
First Snowfall was originally created as a gift for The Lovely Muse Apothecary’s customers. I received it with an adorable holiday card just before Christmas. (Thank you again, Aurelia!) Customer response was so positive that Aurelia has now added it to the shop. If you’re a winter person who loves snow, this is a beautiful fragrance for the season. Clean, pure snow really doesn’t have a scent, of course, but growing up in the harsh winters of the Midwest, snow certainly has a large fragrant footprint by association: wool mittens, evergreen trees, wood burning in a fireplace, the clean laundry scent of flannel pajamas… It’s a mood as much as a scent. First Snowfall, with notes of bergamot, eucalyptus, snow, thyme, basil, iris, amber, blueberry, white freesia, wild grape, pomegranate, lily, magnolia, green vines and lemon, somehow manages to capture that “mood” of watching snow fall from the safety of a warm and cozy home. The eucalyptus and herbal notes impart a cool tingling sensation in the nose. The rest of this fragrance is pure alchemy–I get none of the other notes individually and the sum is greater than the parts. It’s somehow crisp, clean and beautiful, like a starry night sky above sparkling fields of untouched snow. It’s perfect in winter and I wore it the day we got our first snow here, but I can’t wait to give this one a turn in the midst of a sweltering Philadelphia summer. The sillage is intimate and longevity is in the five-to-six hour range.
Ophelia White Ginger & Amber was Lovely Muse’s first fragrance release of 2022 and boy, it’s a good one! With notes of white ginger, warm amber, marigold, carnation and musk, this fragrance was a love at first sniff. It’s on the softer side of fragrances I’ve tried from The Lovely Muse, staying close the skin and lasting about five hours, but wearing Ophelia is a like sinking into a hug from a cherished friend–warm, inviting, soft and deep. The fragrance transcends categories and seasons, enchanting me with its sunny florals, clean soapy musk and a gently sweet amber base that stops just short of gourmand. These notes are familiar and reassuring, but the blend as a whole somehow still invites further investigation. The cherished friend giving the hug has new experiences to share and things I haven’t discovered yet…
If these fragrances intrigue you, you can purchase samples, travel size and full sizes on The Lovely Muse Apothecary website and Etsy shop. Or enter my giveaway for a chance to select one of these three or any of the wonderful scents from this amazing solid perfume house!
All images by me. Tea & Honey and First Snowfall were gifts of the brand. Ophelia was a gift of the brand with another purchase I made.