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Today is September 19 and we’re expecting a high of 88F/31C today. Bah humbug! I’m not a “summer person” and I look forward to the return of cooler temps and lower humidity. Such weather doesn’t usually arrive in Philadelphia until sometime in mid-to-late October, so sweaters and fall/winter fragrances are still a few weeks away for me.
Do you rotate your fragrances on a seasonal basis? I realize not everyone does this, but as someone who lives in an area that experiences four distinct seasons, I have personally found my deepest ambers and old school chypres to be overwhelming in summer’s heat and humidity. They generally move to the back of the shelf in May and don’t move forward again until October. However, there are some fragrance categories that I wear year-round, chief among them my floral perfumes.
I was extremely online this summer, hiding from the heat and browsing Instagram, where I discovered the new brand featured in today’s post. Arbore Perfume Atelier just launched in July this year, and this brand is a must-try for fans of floral fragrances, in particular white florals, as well as fans of botanical perfumery and vegan perfumes. (And, really, anyone who wants to educate their own nose regarding the notes that make up these little juices, oils and waxes that we love. More on that in a moment.) I followed the brand at launch and when founder perfumer Alexandra Saceanu, who goes by Alex, offered to send a sample packet my way, of course I said yes!
Arbore Perfume Atelier is an artisan fragrance studio based in Tucson, Arizona. Alex has an interesting life story that she details on the website, including how she came to work exclusively with botanical fragrance ingredients as an aesthetic choice. She’s focusing on solid perfumes at this time and the collection at launch consisted of five soliflore fragrances (Rose, Jasmine, Neroli, Tuberose and Magnolia), plus two signature perfumes that are more complex blends (Narcotica and Spring Juice).
I received a sample pack of all seven scents, plus a mini of Rose. The samples are rice-grain sized dollops of the solid perfume, listed as single use testers but I have found it to be enough to test each fragrance several times. Each sample is wrapped in grease-proof wax paper with a little sticker identifying the scent. (My samples have flattened with use and storage, but this doesn’t affect their performance.) The Rose mini arrived in a plastic screw-top compact with a pink label identifying the brand, scent and ingredients.
Friends, all of these fragrances are breathtakingly lovely. The softer sillage resulting from the natural ingredients and the solid format makes what would typically be “beast mode” fragrance notes approachable and suitable for just about any occasion. These all last at least four hours on skin (some an hour or two longer, and all a little longer when applied under clothing). And at just $10 for the sample pack plus $5 flat shipping for all U.S. orders up to $75 (and the rates will be different for international friends, but she’ll ship to you, too!), these are very much worth any perfume fan’s time and money. Let me tell you a little more about these scents.
As a perfume lover, you may think you know what jasmine and tuberose (for example) smell like, but if you’ve never smelled them in their pure and natural state (the actual flower, or the essential oil/absolute/floral wax derived from it), I promise you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise with these.
When I sampled the soliflores, several ideas came to mind:
- The sample set offers a great way to educate your nose and will improve your ability to recognize and appreciate floral fragrance notes as you try new perfumes.
- Some florals, especially jasmine and tuberose, in commercial perfumes can be overpowering and even headache-inducing. (Do a search on Fragrantica’s Fracas page for “headache” and you’ll see what I mean.) If you love a perfume with a strong floral note but find you simply can’t wear it, or maybe you’re fine but it bothers your loved one’s nose, you may be able to wear and enjoy that floral in the Arbore Perfume Atelier solid perfume format, where it will be softer and free from any synthetic enhancements.
- All of the soliflores are delightful to wear as stand-alone perfumes, and also work well for layering with your other fragrances, to add or enhance a note. For example, I layered my Rose solid over The Art of Shaving’s Oud Suede and it was a chef’s kiss perfect blend to rival any traditional Arabian perfume.
The soliflores may be single note fragrances, but these scents are reminders that notes do not equal ingredients. All of the fragrances include floral wax as well as some combination of essential oils, CO2 extracts, absolutes, aromatic extracts, resists and/or natural isolates, in a base of soy wax and jojoba oil. The Rose soliflore is multi-faceted, composed of three different varieties of rose. Jasmine has both the sambac and grandiflorum varieties for maximum indolic delight. Magnolia includes blossoms and leaves and manages to smell both citrusy and creamy floral. And oh! You haven’t truly tried a neroli perfume until you’ve tried Arbore Perfume Atelier’s Neroli, which is composed from both neroli and orange blossom, and offers the experience of the full tree in bloom–delicate white blossom, juicy green leaf and dry twig.
For the soliflores, I appreciate the beauty in all of them and will happily use them all up, but some things come down to personal preference and the Tuberose soliflore is the one that really rings my chimes. I love that headache-inducing Fracas I mentioned above, and I have other scents featuring this heady white floral in my collection, but I really enjoyed the experience of this aroma in isolation. I’ve ordered a mini of Tuberose for my collection.
THE SIGNATURE PERFUMES
Arbore Perfume Atelier’s two signature perfumes–Narcotica and Spring Juice–are stunning examples of what can be achieved with the natural fragrance palette.
Narcotica features notes of Tuberose, Vanilla, Jasmine, Lavender, Violet Leaf, Tangerine and White Grapefruit. It is indeed a “narcotic” fragrance–addictive from the first sniff and a wonderfully complex floral-amber that constantly shapeshifts on the skin. I’ve also ordered a mini of Narcotica and have a Swipes post planned for that one in the next few weeks.
Spring Juice is also amazing and I’ve earmarked it for future purchase. I go prowling for green and violet perfumes each February/March and I plan to revisit this fragrance next spring. Until then, just know that it’s a mesmerizing mix of Sandalwood, Mimosa, Vanilla, Magnolia, Violet Leaf, Neroli, Lavender, Bergamot, Green Mandarin and Lime. By turns citrus, floral, herbal and woody, Spring Juice is certainly a scent that can be worn in any season, by either gender. Alex has done a wonderful job of creating an energetic, hopeful mood with this perfume and I look forward to exploring it in more detail at a future date.
Thank you to Arbore Perfume Atelier for the opportunity to try these lovely scents. I encourage my readers who enjoy floral fragrances to give this new house a try! Stay tuned for more thoughts on Narcotica (and maybe Narcotica + Tuberose, too)!
All images by me.