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Thursday, December 11, 2014

A rainbow of delights: Providence Perfume Company's new oils collection

By Donna

Anyone who is familiar with Charna Ethier's creative compositions for Providence Perfume Company will be pleased with her new collection of six all-natural oil perfumes, which are free of alcohol and very long-lasting. These came about as the result of customer requests and have been very well received. I am already a fan of her fabulous Beauty Elixir oil and other body products so I was eager to try these.

I was especially interested in Rose 802, which was inspired by the scent of wild roses and blackberries growing in the countryside of Vermont – 802 is Vermont's area code. I was born there, and I wandered its verdant woods and meadows myself, so this one had a lot to live up to. I was not disappointed; this is a beautiful rose fragrance with blackcurrant, cedar and fir, and it's magical on my skin. Myrtle leaves impart a fresh greenness and a touch of vanilla adds the warmth of summer to the blend. (This is definitely not a rose soliflore, and I have to say that if you don't like blackcurrant bud, you probably won't like this.)

Violet Beauregarde (after the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory character) fits nicely into the slot between a traditional floral perfume and a “candied violets” scent – flowers with just a touch of sweetness, and no melancholy. The violet is surrounded with jasmine, mimosa and ylang ylang, with sandalwood and vanilla providing an ideal base to showcase the florals. It is a very pretty perfume and would be perfect for a young girl's first fragrance, especially if she likes the Roald Dahl books. That said, it's also perfect for adults who appreciate a truly fine violet scent.

The first thing to keep in mind about Orange Blossom Honey is that honey is the centerpiece; orange blossom is only a supporting character. It is deliriously sweet and thick, like a drowsy August day with bees humming all around the flower garden. When I was growing up in New England, we bought our honey locally – it was clover honey, sold in big buckets, very dark in color with an intensely earthy flavor. I thought all honey was like that. Then one day my grandfather brought home something exotic from the grocery store – orange blossom honey from Florida. It was a light amber color and intensely sweet, with a beautiful perfumey aroma. Smelling this oil brings me right back to that time, and I enjoyed this immensely.

In a similar manner to Orange Blossom Honey, Sweet Jasmine Brown is anything but a straight-up jasmine perfume. I have never smelled a treatment quite like this; it brings out the delicious “banana jam” aspect of real jasmine and surrounds it with a sugary, musky warmth from vanilla, tonka bean, cocoa nibs and ambrette seed, and the inclusion of ylang ylang makes the floral character even headier. Anyone who is not used to natural fragrances should not expect to encounter the blindingly white sheen of the jasmine in department store perfumes, which is almost certainly augmented in large part by synthetics, if not entirely so. It is exactly those kinds of fragrances that makes some people think they don't like jasmine, and to them I would say, try this instead, and don't be surprised if it garners some very positive attention; this is one sexy scent!

Summer Yuzu is more than just a breezy warm weather perfume. Since it's an oil, it lasts much longer on the skin than the equivalent style scent in an alcohol-based formula would be, so it can be enjoyed all day without reapplying. Yuzu is one of the most pleasing of all citrus aromas, combining the fresh bursting quality of grapefruit with the sweetness of mandarin and the sparkle of lemon and bergamot. (The perfumer cleverly added frankincense to extend its longevity.) Tomato leaf further enhances the sunny disposition of this one, and I can't imagine anyone not liking it. It is suitable for either men or women.

Ivy Tower may be my favorite of the collection, although it would be hard to choose just one. It is indeed as green as its name, but it's a soft, deep, diffusive green with nary a sharp edge in sight. It won me over when I smelled the gorgeous narcissus, one of my favorite notes in all of perfumery; green florals were my first love and I have a weakness for this style of misty, wistful fragrance. As if that's not enough, it also features jasmine, ethereal mimosa and my beloved lily. It lasts all day on me, which is unusual for any green fragrance no matter what the formula is. Calling all green lovers, this is a must try!

These oils come in a pretty roll-on bottle and are available at the company's boutique at 301 Wickenden Street, Providence, RI 02903 or on the Providence Perfume Company Web site, and if I may suggest it, the sample set of all six scents would make a wonderful holiday gift; they are generously sized and since you don't need to apply very much at a time with perfume oils, several wearings can easily be had from one vial.

Image credit: Photo of the packaging for the roll-on perfume oils via
Disclaimer: The sample set was given to me by Providence Perfumes for testing.

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