Pacifica, a brand that concentrated on scented candles and body products before introducing a range of personal scents last year, is turning out to be a great resource for anyone looking for decent, wearable fragrances at a budget price — to my mind, they fit into the same niche that L'Occitane used to fill before they started inching towards upscale*. The Pacifica fragrances are not wildly complicated, but they're generally nicely done with attractive packaging, and the blends are more sophisticated than you'd expect for the price: $8.95 for a 10 gr solid compact, $19.95 for a 35 ml bottle of "Spray Perfume".
Here are brief reviews of my favorite two out of Pacifica's latest batch of releases, Avalon Juniper and Tibetan Mountain Temple. Both fragrances are unisex. Please bear in mind that I'm trying both in their solid form, and have never smelled either in the liquid form. I love solid perfumes, but admittedly, what you gain in portability, you lose in complexity and sillage.
Avalon Juniper ~ this one features juniper with grapefruit and heliotrope, and is being advertised as a sort of "fire and ice" thing. I'm getting more of the ice than the fire; in the early stages, it's a really lovely cheery grapefruit grounded with juniper, fresh and crisp and wintry. Later, the grapefruit fades a notch and it's softened by the heliotrope. I wish they'd gone heavier on the pine-y, resinous woody notes — this is closer throughout to juniper berry, and mild juniper berry at that — but it's a pleasant fragrance to wear, and it would probably layer nicely with something or another.
Tibetan Mountain Temple ~ to my nose, the best of what I've smelled from Pacifica so far. This is a mild incense scent with vetiver, patchouli, orange and ginger. The top notes smell like holiday-spiced orange and pale sandalwood incense; in the later stages, the orange mostly fades, and it gets warmer and earthier, with just a touch of vanillic sweetness. It's calming, and darkish without being so church-y dark (or incense-heavy) as Crazylibellule & The Poppies Encens Mystic. I thought Encens Mystic was a bargain, but this one is twice the size and half the price: you can't afford not to buy it. I've got my eye on the body butter for this scent ($15.95 for 8 oz), and I'd love to hear comments from anyone who has tried this in the liquid form. Highly recommended.
For buying information, see the listing for Pacifica under Perfume Houses.
* In all fairness, L'Occitane's prices aren't all that much higher if you ignore the newer, pricier Notre Flore collection and look for the older scents in the travel sizes. Their pleasant Green Tea scent, for instance, is currently $17 for 20 ml. The problem is that you frequently can't find the scent you want in a travel size. Ruban d'Orange, one of my favorites of their current line up, is $44 for 100 ml — more than I'd like to pay for a simple, short-lived orange fig.