For Strange Women – Victorian Solids Perfume Collection
January 11, 2013 | Fragrance
I first discovered the perfumes made by For Strange Women about 3 years ago, when I was searching for a fragrance that had a prominent tobacco note. My search brought me to Decadence & Debauchery, a perfumed oil that enabled time travel as the aroma of tobacco, vanilla bourbon and violet leaves transported me to a 1920s speakeasy every time I breathed it in. I recently visited her website to see what time I’d like to travel to next, and was excited to discover that she has line of perfume solids inspired by Victorian times.
When my samples (3 for $9) arrived in the mail, I immediately knew that Jill McKeever, the perfumer behind the For Strange Women line, still had a knack for time travel. This woman truly has a gift – her ability to capture a specific era and its entire ambiance in a fragrance is unique and amazing. It’s a very specific sensory experience, and the details in the fragrances and their packaging (even for the samples) are very well constructed. The perfumes in the Victorian Solids line are called Satin Corset, Antique Settee, and Violin in the Attic.
Satin Corset ($36) is the sweetest of the three, though it is not sweet in a fruity or candy-like sense. It’s more of a deep, spicy sweetness, dominated by tonka and vanilla bourbon, but with a musky, floral twist. According to her website, this fragrance is meant to convey “the scent of a line-dried ivory satin corset worn by a perfumed Victorian woman,” and it does its job very well. If I were to attempt to categorize this perfume into a traditional olfactive family, I’d call it a soft oriental.
Antique Settee ($36) invokes “hints of roses, violets, and everlastings lingering on velvet upholstery from perfumed guests that have come and gone.” The floral notes are very distinctive in this blend, as is the sweet aroma of Earl Grey tea. Antique Settee smells like memories I wish I had. Like Satin Corset, it’s also difficult to categorize in a traditional sense, but if pressed I might call it a floral oriental.
My favorite at the moment is Violin in the Attic ($36) – an almost peppery concoction of wood, incense, amber, rose and cocoa meant to emulate the experience of a violin that has been “left in the attic for generations.” The wood notes are definitely the most prominent, yet this scent still feels very feminine to me. It has the perfect balance of spicy, dry and floral notes, and I would probably label it as a floral wood.
Take care, these solids are not meant to be something you slap on over your body glitter before going to the club. They are very personal and sensual, each of them an experience rather than just a smell. I know, I know. It’s hokey and hyperbolic to call a perfume an experience, but in this instance, it’s no exaggeration.
It’s worth mentioning that these perfumes don’t have any sillage to speak of – they are specifically created to stay close to the skin so that only you or someone very close to you will know that you’re wearing it. They are also made using only natural, high quality, organic ingredients, so those of you who have perfume allergies will still be able to enjoy these.
My only complaint is that I wish I could somehow make my life smell like these fragrances. I would love to be able to wrap myself in a duvet that smells like Violin in the Attic and breath in the experience. But I suppose part of the beauty of such a vivid sensory experience is how fleeting it is. I really loved these perfume solids and can’t wait to purchase the full size versions. I’m already back on the For Strange Women website trying to decide where I want to go next.
Skin & Tonics Rating: A
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