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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MAC Naked Honey

By Beth

I’ll never forget the first time that I read Amanda Hesser’s amazing first book, “The Cook and the Gardener, a year of recipes and writing from the French countryside”. Aside from the incredible recipes there were several stories that captivated me, one in particular about a day that she’d spent with the gardeners wife picking linden blossoms off of boughs that he had trimmed and brought into the barn for harvest. I was enchanted by her descriptions of the blossoms and the fragrant cups of linden tea that she was drinking. I dreamt of sitting in that very barn sharing tea and eating fresh madeleines in the dappled sunlight while an old barn cat circled my ankles sniffing the fragrant yellow flowers.

It’s incredible how one story changed my fragrance life forever. I hadn’t known of linden trees, french lime perfume or the wonderfully relaxing tea that they produced until that very moment. She then went on to speak of waking up the next morning and making her way down the long driveway that was lined with the linden trees. Her description of the lovely long lane of lindens that had woken up almost overnight in full blossom was incredible. I was left with an image that I’ll never forget, of walking under a lane a abundantly blossoming trees that were swarming with bees and dripping with a honeyed fragrance that was almost beyond imaginable. To be there was my dream.

I became a woman obsessed. I sent my sister off to Paris with a shopping list and she brought me back several wonderful linden teas, books by French herbalists and essential oils in an effort to quench my thirst. That summer I learned of the relaxation that a cup of tilleul could bring. I still will drink it gently sweetened with a touch of honey on nights when I cannot sleep. I am sure that it brings me the sweetest dreams. I love to infuse the blossoms in a bit a wine with some agave as well. It is one of the best love potions that I know.

I spent several months trying as many different linden perfumes as I could find. L’Occitane made one that was wonderful and sadly not available anymore. Provence Sante’ makes a single note linden fragrance that’s beautiful but almost a bit to simple for my tastes. Jo Malones effervescent French Lime Blossom is a beautiful interpretation but smells a bit flat on my skin, the same with her Nectarine Blossom and Honey. Annick Goutals lovely Dans les Feins is gorgeous and tragically no longer available. I have never smelled the D’orsay Tilleul but am told that it’s exquisite.

Life goes on and new scents are constantly beckoning, but I’ve never forgotten that enticing story of the linden trees or the overwhelming hunger that it produced. Enter MAC’s limited edition fragrance Naked Honey! I’ve never paid any attention to MAC, mostly because I’m a NARS kind of girl but I was intrigued when I read several interesting reviews. I am very happy to say that Naked Honey is exquisite and quite surprising given its really reasonable price of 25.00 per bottle.

Naked Honey is a bewitching sort of fragrance that just relaxes me from the instant that I put it on. To me it smells a bit like the autumn days in the northeast, still very warm and but extremely ripe. I have no idea what’s in it, but I don’t care. This is the first fragrance ever to have immediately conjured up that first honey filled image of the linden trees that I read about so many years ago and I adore it and its oozy, dripping sweetness. Wearing Naked Honey also reminds me of pleasant afternoons spent at the Farmer’s Market in La Jolla where there is a delightful British woman who sells the most precious honey I’ve ever tasted. She first makes you smell and then taste and she cherishes her bees. Her bee pollen , ginger and cinnamon infused honey is incredible and I eat it by the spoonful , it is an elixir of the finest sort. Her honeycomb almost defies description and crackles in your fingers leaving them moist and tasting of sunlight. To me, her fresh honeycomb is the essence of what all honey comb should be. It is fragrant of flowers and beeswax with delicious little nibbly bits of pollen and a flavor that is a bards tale of magical days. Just like that incredible honeycomb, MAC’s Naked Honey is honey in a perfume just the way that I love it, undisguised , sexy and warm on the skin. It is simple in a way that is absolutely beguiling or as my husband put it when I asked him “not to be too technical darling but it was really very sensually inspiring”. When I wear it, I envision lying with him beneath those dripping linden trees, enjoying a picnic and a very languorous afternoon. There would be wine and fresh bread , with honey , cheese and figs, juicy fresh pears and yummy roasted chicken that we could eat with our fingers, but mostly there would be time, a lot of precious, sweet time............

If you love pure sweet honey in a fragrance this is definitely the one for you. Naked Honey is also one part of a two part release, the other being a fragrance called Africanimal. I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t love me in the same way but maybe you’ll feel differently about it. MAC’s Naked Honey is a limited edition so run to the nearest MAC counter and buy some. GO now, because I was lucky to find two bottles!

Medieval love poem : 1170- 1230 by Walther von der Vogelweide.

Photographs courtesy of MAC and Beth Schreibman Gehring.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was really happily surprised by this one, too. It's lovely, and practically free! Great review.

1:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Tama said...

You summed this up really well. When I smelled it, it was a true Holy Grail scent - I love linden and it really has that quality. I am almost crazily possessive of it too - nobody got any samples out of my bottle (dang limited editions!) but I did spray some on paper for a friend. Her reaction was great. She said, in a very small voice,"excuse me", and sat back against the pillows with her eyes closed and the scent pressed to her nose.

2:37 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree. It is such a wonderful scent, perfect sillage, excellent longevity, but impossible to find now. I scooped up 3 bottles last month: the last 3 in our city....I am greedy, aren't I? :-)


7:39 AM EDT  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Beth, what a wonderful review. A pleasure to read.

What is this Dans les Feins? Rats, I do believe you embedded a treasure hunt within a treasure hunt! :)

8:14 AM EDT  
Blogger Mals86 said...

As always, a wonderfully evocative review, Beth. My thanks.

Alas, Naked Honey did not love me. It was utterly gorgeous for fifteen minutes, and then faded into that flat, cleaning-products vibe that white florals sometimes do. Oh, but those first 15 minutes...

9:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Thank you! it was one of the happiest surprises that I've had yet! I'm so glad that you enjoyed the review.

10:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

I know what you mean...I'm hoarding my bottles because I love it so much:)The vision of your friend was hysterical and absolutely spot on. Everyone loves this one!

10:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

You are not greedy, you are DISCERNING:) It's a wonderful fragrance and one that should never ever be allowed to go away:(

10:10 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Scent Self,
Thank you , I'm so glad that you enjoyed the was a pleasure to write as I absolutely adore covering myself with this one:)
Dans Les Feins was a beautiful home scent by Annick Goutal that was discontinued probably about 5 years or so ago maybe longer. It is gorgeous. I used it as perfume or rather I'd spray it and walk straight through the vapors.....It left the most wonderful , lingering Linden, fresh flower smells.....I still have about 3 hoarded just gets better with age:)

I sadly haven't seen it in years....

10:15 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Dear Mals86,

I am fortunate that it doesn't do that to me because I think that it would plunge me into deep despair. You are a far braver woman than I am:)
Thank you so much...I'm so glad that you enjoyed the review! Do any of the white florals work for you?

10:17 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

It's actually Dans Les Foins.....not feins. Sorry about that!

10:22 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Drat- now I'll have to stop at MAC on the way home!

11:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

It's worth's such a lovely little perfume and I will be waiting totally impatiently to see how it works for you!

11:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Mals86 said...

Beth, I love white florals - particularly if there is tuberose or lily involved. Diorissimo is another favorite, as well as DK Gold, and the original Kenzo Parfum d'Ete (in the textured leaf bottle, strongly muguet) is really lovely as well. I thought the JM Lime Blossom was pretty, too, if a bit simplistic.

But when white florals go wrong on my skin, they go really wrong! I was all prepared to adore La Chasse aux Papillons, and like Naked Honey, it was gorgeous for fifteen minutes before becoming unpleasantly reminiscent of the sort of product one uses to scrub the toilet... sniff... so sad.

1:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Margot said...

For 2 months now, I have searched in vain for Naked Honey. I don't have a MAC store near me, and Nordstrom has been out for months. Does anyone have a suggestion on where it can still be found? Maybe some specific Mac stores? Thank you so much for your help!

2:33 PM EDT  
Blogger ScentScelf said...

Margot, funny to find your comment...I had returned to post a tiny but humorous wail about all the stores I called to find a bottle, to no avail. Plenty of Africanimal, but no Naked Honey. Hmmmm. Wah.

Maybe M.A.C. will treat this as a market test and make some more...

4:08 PM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

Beth, such exquisite imagery you give us, I want my own double row of linden trees NOW!

You really, really must try D'Orsay's Tilleul, it's the best linden perfume out there IMHO. It may be the most ethereal fragrance I have ever tried, just floating on the air like a perfect, tender shimmering whisper of linden blossoms.

I had the same experience with Naked Honey as Mals86 - it was great for about half an hour, and I was just starting to think it was true love when it turned on me, into a "clean laundry" floral! I was quite surprised by this after the soft, melting opening. I guess I will stick with SL Miel de Bois and Ginestet Botrytis for my honey fix. I still want to try Africanimal though, it sounds really interesting, but my nearest MAC counter was out of it - they get very few bottles of any fragrances in the line, so I am going to have to search further afield.

4:13 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Before writing this comment I had to first race off to Amazon to find that wonderful sounding book by Amanda Hesser. It's now been ordered, as well as three other books by her, including one she co-authored about MFK Fisher's kitchens. Can't wait!!!
Already have Naked Honey, which I had ordered unsniffed when it first came out. Heavenly stuff! But when was AG's Dans les Feins released? I've been wearing scents from that line since the early 80s and I have no memory at all of this scent. How did I miss it? Can't find any reviews of it. Was it a Europe only release or just a very short term release? I hate it when companies do that w/ glorious scents.

5:34 PM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

You DO realize, don't you-

That if you wax any more erotic, we're going to have to lock you away ???

" Wie lieblich ist der Lindenduft" said Mahler.
I concur !

5:50 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Margot, I
Im not sure where to find this....if you've got a Saks anywhere nearby, I'd try to see if they will locate some for you!
Good luck!!!!!!!

9:37 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

I will definitely try the D'Orsay. I know that I will love it. I'm so glad that enjoyed the review. Do try the Africanimal and let me know what you did nothing for me but maybe it will work on you.
I've got to try the Botrytis the sound of that one:)

9:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Hi Elle,
You will love the books by Amanda Hesser...she's really a great writer! I can't wait until you write me captivated by the chapter about the LInden trees!
Dans les Foins was an incredible home spray released b y AG many years ago. I haven't seen it in awhile although I did see a bottle for sale on ebay this morning. It is well worth it, one of the most extraordinary things that I've ever smelled! I used to use it as perfume on my clothes and people would follow me around completely may have been Europe only, but I did find it here, believe it or not at Marshalls:)

9:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Why would you ever dream of locking me away.....I'm no danger to anyone:)

I'm only getting started...........


9:46 PM EDT  
Anonymous Scent Hive said...


Give the Naked Honey body cream a try. A few Nords still have it and it smells very close the perfume.

Good luck!


11:38 PM EDT  
Anonymous Margot said...

ScentScelf, Scent Hive, and Beth:

Thank you so much for your suggestions! I am glad to share some amazing news....
A sweet SP at one of the MAC stores I called gave me the phone number for "Gone But Not Forgotten", the Estee Lauder/ MAC discontinued products department. They have a service that will search for a product, and if they have it, will take your phone order and process your credit card payment.

My bottle of Naked Honey has been shipped, and I am so happy. I hope
this option helps someone else!

10:17 PM EDT  
Anonymous Margot said...

And Beth...

I must tell you again how much
I love your beautiful prose and evocative descriptions. It's always a treat to read your reviews.

Thank you!

10:35 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Thank you Margot!!! I'm really happy that you enjoy my reviews. I love writing them!
Let me tell you also how thrilled I am that you are getting a bottle of Naked Honey...rare stuff that it would seem! Please let me know if you love it!

11:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Tania said...

Spurred by this beautifully-written article, I went hot-foot to the MAC stand in Selfridges, and snagged their last bottle. ;-)
They had none left of Africanimal, which is a shame because I was curious about that one, too. But now I have Naked Honey - and oh, but it's lovely!

So thanks, if not for you I would never have tried it, and I would have missed out! (I have tried their other edps, and wasn't impressed, so I ignored this on it's release).

12:20 PM EDT  
Blogger indieperfumes said...

I love honeys. There's a new shop near where I work in Grand Central that sells special honeys, one is very very dark and he also has some produced in the city by the local beekeepers (Brooklyn and NYC rooftop gardens, though it's not exactly legal). If honey were not so sticky and attractive to the insecta I would slather it on myself...this perfume was quite the deal. I agree re the linden notes...

12:32 PM EDT  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I was ready to curse you for writing such a lovely review of something that was impossible to find - then I stopped into Saks today and they had some! I'm not sure how I restrained myself from purchasing all three bottles (I think that it was the tiny voice inside of my head reminding me of the 50+ FBs and decants and the 100+ samples waiting for me at home).

I was able to purchase a bottle - we went to lunch right after and the hostess, the waiter, and the lady in the booth behind us all commented on how beautiful the scent was.

6:19 PM EDT  
Blogger xxdfarre said...

Wonderful review, dont suppose I will find any Naked Honey here in Brisbane...Do do try to find Tilleul, my most favourite scent for the past several years. The only place I know that stocks it is a small chain of shops in London called Cologne and Cotton so I try to stock up when there. Nice large bottles fortunately. Not exey either.

7:55 PM EDT  
Blogger Kater said...

I don't know if anybody is still looking for the Naked Honey fragrance, but the Mac counter in Macy's at the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania still has several bottle left---I scored one today. At first quick sniff, I liked it, but now that I've been wearing it all day I wish I had bought out their stock!


6:28 PM EDT  

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