Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Company has been a very busy lady lately.
Besides her own booming cottage industry, composing all-natural perfumes, body oils, and now, solid perfume balms –
She was also asked to teach a course in NYC recently, alongside other well-known natural perfumers.
Not too long ago, Charna was agonizing about releasing her new solid perfumes:
Would they be good enough?
How was their longevity?
Were the fragrances true?
Worry worry worry.
Charna needn’t have worried 😉
These attractively-packaged, richly moisturizing perfumed balms are brand spanking new.
They are absolutely [sic] original fragrances – separate from her existing body oils and eaux de parfums.
There are four fragrances from which to choose, each distinct and exquisitely aromatic.
I recommend sampling them, because they play out differently on the skin than they initially appear to your nose [not unusual when experiencing a well-nuanced natural].
Notes are but a small part of the equation- we need our noses and skin!
Your skin will LOVE these.
The first main ingredient is shea butter– that good friend to skin.
It’s followed by apricot kernel oil, yellow beeswax, castor bean, coconut, and jojoba oils…I think you see where I’m going with this.
Charna’s are very unlike so many other perfume concretes, which can crack, crumble, and feel dreadfully waxy, chalky, or unyielding to the touch; you can scratch them with your nails, trying to extract something scented, to little avail.
PPC’s are easy to use, soft and moist, without feeling greasy in the process.
The fragrances themselves delight.
[I bought mine unsniffed, by the way.
Talk about trust!]
A glorious jasmine grandiflorum- one of my favorites, and Charna’s, too-
It is blended with rose de mai and nutmeg, and vanilla.
This perfume really took me by surprise.
I smelled a clearly terpene-type note on my skin, similar to a menthol / eucalyptus in this full-bodied composition.
For me, it renders Jazmina complex and elegant, feeling like a grande dame white blossom wearing naughty underpinnings.
Big, beautiful Stargazer lilies cozy up to the rose and the almond, and the result is pretty spectacular.
If you love a big floral, this is the stuff of dreams- romantic, lush, and ripe.
Frankly, I’d rather wear this than the Fracas of today.
The bouquet of plumeria, coffee flower, night-blooming jasmine, frangipani and tuberose perch atop a lovely quality sandalwood
The overall effect is ebulliently floral / woody, without brashness, and the drydown feels rather tender.
My clear favorite of the quartet.
And possibly the most unexpected, because it smells one way at first, then morphs into something else entirely-
Each episode is wonderful
The first breath is intensely verdant and herbal, chock- full of naturals that make me dizzy with their generous greenness.
Herbs [basil, in particular], violet leaves [must be galbanum in there, too], relatives of the mint family even- Greet me effusively.
Then, something happens– a huge dollop of orris and mimosa change the entire trajectory.
There is a notable silveriness from the orris, and a fruitiness from the mimosa.
What was green is now delicately apricot-peachy and silvery.
Chiffonade reminds me of what some fine chypres do; they begin fresh and develop, with twists and turns along the way.
They pique AND hold your interest.
Yes, Charna is my friend.
I pay for my perfumes, just as you do- because it’s important to support independent business folk, they’ve got to eat, just like us 😉
Friendship aside, though, her work never bores; like the woman herself, it is giving, open, more than a little mysterious, and full of warmth and personality.
Charna has sweetly offered a giveaway to a fortunate reader. We will giveaway one full size solid perfume of the reader’s choice. Head over to the Providence Perfumes solid perfumes website at the link here. Then come back and leave a comment describing which one you would choose and why. The draw closes on May 20, 2011.
–Ida Meister, Natural Perfumes Editor/Senior Editor