First-Annual Artisan Fragrance Salon
The first-annual Artisan Fragrance Salon, which brought together creators of original, enticing, and sometimes unexpected perfumery, was introduced to the citizens of San Francisco by Taste TV this summer.
Twenty inspired fragrance makers presented their products at Gallery 4N5 on Mission Street in San Francisco. The art gallery is also a wine bar, so the Fragrance Salon started with some wine tasting of Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs from Russian River Valley, R&B Cellars 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, and the fittingly named The Improviser from Napa Valley – also by R&B Cellars.
Yosh Han, a San Francisco-based perfumer of YOSH Olfactory Sense, spoke about her Evanescent Collection, “a full wardrobe of perfumes” designed to “resonate with principles of chakra energy and numerology.”
In between the presentations, the attending buyers, journalists, and fragrance-inclined public visited the participants’ booths to try and inhale as much of the good stuff as was humanly possible.
To me, the best features of the Salon were the diversity of the local, regional, and national perfumers; an opportunity to talk directly to the fragrance makers and hear about their philosophy and vision; and a rare chance to indulge in numerous olfactory tastings that, combined, could not help but uplift and inspire everyone in attendance.
Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes, located in Seattle, WA, was founded in 2010 by Dr. Ellen Covey – a trained neuroscientist and an orchid nursery owner. Her “Orchid Scents” signature line was inspired by the specific varieties of orchids, of which Golden Cattleya was my favorite, and coincidentally, the company’s best-seller. Combining the springtime scents of narcissus, daffodil, and orange blossoms with New Caledonian sandalwood, resins, and musk, this perfume is long-lasting, romantic, and as warm and caressing as late afternoon sunshine.
Sarah Horowitz Parfums, presided by Sarah Horowitz-Thran from Westlake Village, CA, is known for its “Perfect Parfums” series as well as for “What Comes from Within” that includes Love, Light, Peace,” and Beauty fragrances. Musk-based Perfect Veil lives up to its name with perfectly balanced notes of vanilla, sandalwood, lemon, and bergamot.
The luxury fragrance company 40 Notes, specializing in rare ingredients and limited-edition collections, was created by Miriam Vareldzis from Portland, OR. Her dewy green-floral Crystalline Hyacinth with distilled lemon was created specifically for the First Annual Artisan Fragrance Salon in San Francisco.
Sonoma Scent Studio, based in Healdsburg, CA, presented an entire fragrance menu of artisan perfumes by Laurie Erickson from Voile de Violet, as soft as a violet, complimented by iris, cedar, vetiver, and other silky scents, to woody Forest Walk with black hemlock, oak moss, red cedar, and a list of other bold ingredients.
L’Aromatica Perfume by Loreto Remsing is proudly “made in San Francisco,” and derives inspiration from the botanical world of Northern California. Big Sur smells of bay leaf, lemon, mint, and bitter herbs, while subtle dry Desert Man is redolent of myrrh, sagebrush, and white musk.
Velvet and Sweet Pea Purrfumery by Laurie Stern is a delightful and playful enterprise in El Cerrito, CA, named after Laurie’s two feline charges. The company’s “Signature Scents,” “Limited Editions,” and all other Kittylicious fragrances are based on organic grape alcohol, botanical, and cruelty-free, Leaping Bunny certified. Black Cat with cocoa, ylang ylang, blood orange, and aniseed myrtle; Fir-Ever Young with Douglas fir, silver fir, grand fir, blue spruce and juniper; newly-introduced Fleur de Caramel, and other whimsical perfumes are all packaged in French crystal, jewel boxes, silk or velvet purses, and accompanied by Victorian scent cards.
Roxana Illuminated Perfume by Roxana Villa is located in Santa Monica, CA. The perfumer is also an artist, a teacher, and a beekeeper, blending her multiple talents together to create artistic, “illuminated” line of rare natural ingredients-based exclusive scents. Her floral Vespertina, inspired by its namesake story and music, comes in a solid form with jojoba oil, handcrafted infusions, and beeswax.
Cognoscenti by the San Francisco “scent artist” Dannielle Sergent is a line of unisex fragrances “for those who know.” Dannielle, whose background includes painting and architecture, says that she paints with color of the scent, and does a lot of testing with different ingredients to create the perfume she would like to wear. Her Scent No. 1 is “painted” with bergamot, fig, ylang ylang, clary sage, pink grapefruit, teak, light musk, and suede, while Scent No. 16 is called Tomato Leather, and Scent No. 19 – Warm Carrot. Cognoscenti celebrated its debut at the Artisan Fragrance Salon.
Divine Life Perfume by Ragna Ruffner from Chico, CA, uses Bulgarian, Turkish, and Moroccan rose oil for its Dharma Rose line that includes botanical perfume, handmade soap, and skin care products. Divine Life facial serum is made of oils of golden jojoba, olive, rosehip seed, red raspberry seed, buckthorn, and other botanical sources.
Rebel and Mercury Perfumes by Nikki Sherritt from Seattle, WA, are hand-blended by the self-taught perfumer and reflect her rebellious nature in unique, highly-concentrated intense fragrances. “I do everything on my own,” says Nikki, who also owns a line of scented candles called Gabriel’s Aunt. Var en Provence pure botanical perfume smells of mimosa, lavender, and olive leaf, while Venasque combines lime, lavender, jasmine, cocoa, and Tonka bean.
Smell Bent, based in West Hollywood, CA, and presented by Brent Leonesio, had a motto, “perfume for cool people,” swanky packaging, and delicate scents named after far-away dream locations like St. Tropez and Never Never Land.
I also liked En Voyage Perfumes by Shelley Waddington’s new Cosmology collection; Smells and Bells Organics’ Om and The Scent of Light; and numerous other scents presented by Persephenie, Ineke, Parfums DelRae, Artemisia Natural Perfume, and Leila Castle Botanical Fragrance. More information at the websites of Artisan Fragrance Salon & TasteTV.