The very talented Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Company has outdone herself this year, launching two attention-getting fragrances that showcase the range of her abilities. One of the ways a perfumer can raise his or her profile is to create a designer scent, and she has done this, with a twist: to the best of my knowledge it is the only all-natural fragrance that has been made specifically for a fashion designer. Mousseline Pêche was made for the former Project Runway Season 7 participant Jonathan Joseph Peters and it is named for mousseline de soie, a sheer and airy type of silk that is a favorite of the designer. This beautiful perfume is scented deliciously of peaches, and if you think you don't like fruity scents, this might convince you otherwise. Most commercial fragrances use synthetics to create the illusion of fruit, and “peach” in a perfume can be overpowering and syrupy. Not here – it's deliciously fresh and juicy and smells just like the real deal. It is accompanied by a zingy top note that features grapefruit and yuzu, floral heart notes of ylang ylang and rose otto, and the base is sweetened with tonka bean and natural “spun sugar” - yes, the same thing that cotton candy is made of. (Don't worry, it's not nearly as sweet as so many mainstream fruity-florals are.) This fragrance is easy to wear and truly as soft as the finest silk. It lasts very well and it does get a bit sweeter with time as the base notes emerge, but it never loses its fragile charm or peachy tenderness.
For summer, the most recent launch is a first for this house, a light cologne style scent that's meant to be splashed with abandon. The composition of Branch & Vine reminds me of those “impossible” still life paintings that feature spring flowers like tulips and hyacinths along with summer roses and glistening fall grapes. In this case it's the juxtaposition of tingly tomato leaf and delicate muguet – spring meets late summer like never before. Unlike many green fragrances, there is nothing sharp about Branch & Vine – the tomato leaf is tamed not only by the muguet but by breathy mimosa and chilly violet leaf. Vetiver and fir cool things down even more, and jasmine sambac wraps its ethereal sweetness around everything. It is as soft and refreshing as walking in your garden early in the morning when the dew is still on the grass, the perfect antidote for hot weather. Since it is a cologne, of course it is quite fleeting, but that's just a good excuse to spritz on some more of it. Outstanding, original and memorable, which is quite a feat for a cologne.
Now you don't have to order samples from this house by mail, you can try them out locally -the Providence Perfume Company line has recently been added to the stellar lineup at Flutter in North Portland.