The Monday Mail ~ help Zee find a new natural perfume

Buzón en La Habana Vieja

Today we're helping Zee, who wants to find a new natural perfume that will work well on hot, sticky summer days, and have some staying power. She's not a purist about naturals, but that's what she's looking for at the moment. She's probably going to be doing all her shopping online. Here is what we know about Zee:

She's a visual artist and textile designer in her late 30s.

She describes herself as bohemian yet sophisticated. She loves antiques and beautiful handmade things using natural materials.

She loves healthy food and strong coffee.

She dresses casually but with attention to detail and quality of material. She is conservative with color — urban greys, blacks, blues, but with the occasional pop of a brighter color.

Zee says she is a scentaholic — she loves reading about perfume, shopping for it, sampling new things, and taking perfume-making classes.

Zee loves a good rose, earthy notes like frankincense, a light touch of vetiver, ambery and animalic fragrances.

Zee doesn't like overly sweet candy perfumes, super synthetic smells or "clean and fresh" fragrances.

Here are some of the perfumes Zee owns or has tried:

Strange Invisible Perfumes Fire & Cream: one of her special occasion fragrances; a bit heavy and somewhat feminine.

Strange Invisible Perfumes Atlantic: smells like a musky forest, could be a bit dirtier.

Strange Invisible Perfumes Musc Botanique: a great base fragrance that she wears on its own or layers. She finds it rich, earthy, not animalic at all but not sweet either.

Anya's Garden Kewdra: she won a small bottle and truly loves it — earthy, rich, dirty, floral and amazing.

Honore des Pres Chaman's Party: she wears it almost daily, but it fades fast and she'd love an extreme version that was richer, less afraid to shock.

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady: her favorite synthetic fragrance; right now she's using up samples of the liquid perfume and the cream, eventually she'll buy one or the other. 

Zee also loves fancy soaps, often with vetiver and patchouli. A particular favorite is Juniper Ridge Siskiyou Cedar.

 What say you?

Note: image is Buzón en La Habana Vieja [cropped] by Quadrophenius at flickr; some rights reserved.

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  1. bjorn says:

    Hello Zee!
    Since you like Chaman’s Party, I guess you have tried I Love Les Carrotes from the same line? If not it’s worth a try, a very quirky and fun carrot/iris scent. It’s great for summer, and it’s pretty long lasting on me.

    This one I haven’t tried, but it sounds nice, a floral chypre: Destiny by House of Matriarch. I think they are an almost 100% natural perfume house.

    Notes include: tangerine, galbanum, tansy, neroli, gardenia, tuberose, two types of jasmine, oak moss, vetiver.

    • Rappleyea says:

      Seconding the I Love Carrots. It lasts extremely well on me (all day, although not strongly) and once the carrots and iris begin to fade, I get the nicest, fresh rose scent. I love that as rose perfumes generally go soapy on me.

    • nozknoz says:

      Carottes is a great suggestion – it would also be worth trying the other two: Vamp a New York (tuberose) and Coco Love (coconut).

      • hajusuuri says:

        Honore des Pres Les Carottes. This is intriguing me…goes to the must try list. Where would one get this? Thank you.

  2. thegoddessrena says:

    I’m going to recommend Soivohle perfumes. Liz Zorn has a great natural animalic base on some of her perfumes that absolutely hooks me. She also labels which scents are all natural and which are mixed media

  3. parfumnut says:

    My suggestion would be Histoires de Parfums Rosam, gorgeous fragrance and not your usual boring Rose fragrance.

  4. zubi says:

    Interested to learn from these comments; these types of scents are a totally new realm for me! *lengthens her “To smell” list by a few pages*

  5. Emily says:

    Zee, check out Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s natural fragrances. Her line is so extensive that there’s bound to be something that suits you. I adore Jitterbug, Oeillets Rouges, Poivre, and Pandora — the first three are warm and spicy, so may not be ideal for a hot, sticky summer day, but Pandora would be worth a try. Beach Roses might be another good DSH for you.

  6. FragrantWitch says:

    I’m going to second the Soivohle recommendation, specifically Underworld. Also, Ayala Moriel is worth investigating, particularly Sabotage which her site describes as ‘Refined, clean tobacco scent with orange blossom, tonka bean, Haitian vetiver and lemon.’ Several more of hers are on my to try list so please report back if you try any!

  7. Abyss says:

    I’m not massively knowledgeable about natural perfumes but how about

    Aveda Yatra (rose patchouli, might be a good fit since Zee likes POAL)

    and the two Aesop fragrances are woody, earthy, incensey.

    I don’t know if Vero Profumo qualify as natural but Onda might be worth a try for a “extreme version that was richer, less afraid to shock”.

  8. Absolute Scentualist says:

    I’m seconding Liz Zorn (NightJar Absolute is a gorgeous bwf with some dirt/spice, Daybreak Violin is like mint and grass and Lilacs & Heliotrope is a pretty and sweet floral that wears beautifully in warm weather.) She has a great sample program and I’m still working my way through some of the most interesting perfumes I’ve tried in quite a while. Her company is a great find and breath of fresh air.

    Also, pretty much everything I’ve tried so far from Sonoma Scent Studio, particularly Rose Musc, Champagne de Bois, Ambre Noir and Tabac Aurea. Velvet Rose is one of the most beautiful roses I’ve tried as a more straight up interpretation of the flower, and is amazing for layering. Many of her fragrances, at least on my skin, have this wonderful denseness and staying power which is great both for enjoyment and cost when it is a fragrance I’m mad about and just want to surround myself in a cloud of for the day. Also, the prices are just amazing considering the quality, staying power and beauty of the fragrances themselves, too.

    A final suggestion for a great take on patchouli is Ava Luxe’s Sweet Patchouli. It is the perfect blend of amber and patch, and while it doesn’t last as long as I’d like (I tried the edp) it is really beautiful and surprisingly airy for a fragrance of that category and works just fine in summer. It is easily one of my fave “go to” frags and even my friends with a low tolerance for patch don’t mind it all.

    Good luck and happy sniffing! :)

    • Rappleyea says:

      An enthusiastic second for the Sonoma Scent Studio Scents. While not entirely natural, Laurie is leaning more and more that way so her newer scents are almost all – or a very high percentage – natural.

    • mals86 says:

      Daybreak Violin is gorgeous.

      Also love Sonoma Scent Studio.

    • Aparatchick says:

      I’ll second all the perfumers on that list! And I love the Ava Luxe patchouli.

  9. lucasai says:

    If you like dense and dark patchouli try Histoires de Parfums Noir Patchouli.

    For amber & animalic aspect – Ambre Precieux Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier

  10. I suspect Zee would like Providence Perfume Co.’s Cocoa Tuberose.

    DSH Cepes & Tuberose also might suit you. Or Bancha (Bancha Extreme might not even be necessary. :-)

    • Valkyrie says:

      its Aftelier who does the cepes and tuberose just suggested it below as well.

      • Ah, and I googled it and everything, to no avail. Yes, That One.

      • Cuir et Champignon, that was the one I was trying to think of. Possibly not floral enough for Zee.

  11. Robin says:

    My three recs:

    Aftelier Candide
    Providence Perfume Co Tabac Citron
    Anya’s Garden Kaffir

    All 3 are summery. Don’t really know that any of them has fabulous staying power, but having trouble thinking of naturals that are summery AND have fabulous staying power.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, and almost forgot Tauer Perfumes Cologne du Maghreb, which I’m sure I’ve spelled wrong — pretty sure it’s all natural too.

  12. Ankica says:

    From her description I can easily see one perfumes: Enchanted by Joanne Bassett. I just found explanation for each (set of) oil(s) which is inside:
    Heart opening, promotes feelings of love, including self love: Rose de Mai absolute – the May Rose
    Aphrodisiacs, promotes sensuality and sexuality: sandalwood, jasmine auriculatum, musky ambrette seed
    Meditative, and offers the ability to go within and go deeper: expensive and rare oud or agarwood
    The sacred oils of champaca and holy basil allow spirituality to resonate in your body temple
    Increases self esteem and feelings of worthiness: osmanthus
    Promotes joyful, playful, and uplifting feelings: yuzu, orange essences
    Promotes feelings of familiarity and belonging: butter co2, vanilla tincture
    Helps us to stretch and grow: davana, pink pepper tree
    Promotes emotional balance: high altitude lavender
    Helps us to surrender and let go: green note of galbanum
    Creates feelings of calm: copaiba balsam
    For grounding: ruh khus vetiver, and dark patchouli

  13. Valkyrie says:

    Well a good rose+ earthy+ animalic= dark roses
    a few non naturals first:

    the dark leather dominatrix rose- Serge Luten’s Rose de Nuit

    Frederic Malle Une Rose- an earthy, animalic, boozy rose including notes of geranium, blue camomile, wine dregs, Turkish rose absolute, and truffle accord.

    Gres Cabaret- a rosewatery rose w/ a touch of smoke and incense- really affordable too!

    a natural- DSH Dirty Rose- a rose w/ dirt, leather, and incense

    Some non roses

    natural SOIVOHLE UNDERWORLD – dark earthy vetiver w/ a dusting of dry cocoa and jasmine

    and definitely another shout out for Honoré des Prés I Love Les Carottes fragrance review- an earthy, rooty carrot perfume with the softest undercurrent of iris and vanilla.

    I love Aftelier’s Cepes and Tuberose- Mushrooms + White florals is weird but totally wearable alas it doesn’t last long on me. Maybe if you layered the edp w/ the parfum on well moisturized skin or just wear it on your face like Mandy Aftel suggests.

  14. Haunani says:

    EnVoyage Perfume makes a beautiful rich, lightly spicy rose called L’Emblem Rouge. I love it, and I believe it is all natural.

    For a mostly-natural with a deliciously animalic base, you might look into DSH Mirabella.

    Both of these are quite new on the market, too!

  15. smellifluous says:

    For a natural earthy, leathery rose, try Roxana Illuminated Perfume’s Rosa. I find her scents, tho 100% natural, have substance and longevity. She offers samples of both solid and, uh, liquid perfumes at her etsy shop. And she has some great non-sweet scents, like Q, Chaparral, Sierra…

    Also, have you tried the line of Artemisia Natural Perfumes? ( The site offers samples, and I do think her scents have longevity (at least, for natural perfumes). I love a few of them, especially After Rain–perfect for hot summer weather.

    Good luck finding a few new natural perfumes you love!

  16. nozknoz says:

    La Via del Profumo is a great natural line based in Italy – it’s easy to order samples and small “mignonette” bottles from his website. I adore his Mecca Balsam – yummy resin and beeswax – though I must admit I don’t tend to wear it in the summer. Lake Blossom smells like fresh ginger (but no ginger in the notes – it must be an illusion). Also love his Hindu Kush and Sharif for incense and animalics.

  17. helenviolette says:

    I will toss in a few scents (hehe) :

    Red flower Guiac and Champagne. Also I think vero Profumo Rubj is worth a sniff, and I adore SIP Prima Ballerina, a gorgeous rose from a line you like. Good luck!

    • helenviolette says:

      That was red flower Champa…my iPad thought otherwise!

  18. nosideup says:

    Maybe try Breath of God from the Gorilla Perfumes line at Lush…

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