Winter 2017 Botanical Perfumes

As my busy and exciting semester of Library school, and work with museum artifacts, comes to a close, I’ve been grateful to spend some time with Arabesque. I’ve turned to perfume blending as a way of calming my thoughts, returning to my center, my senses, and my art. I’m really grateful to the Sacramento Maker’s Mart for giving me a little, and necessary, push in this direction. And I’ve enjoyed breathing life into some of my old scents, which feels like spending time with dear old friends.

Currently blending the following Arabesque scents, which will be available now through January 2018 (when I hope to launch my new web site!) Some of these will be featured at the December 2017 Makers Mart:

 

The Awakening, the botanical scent of which I feel most proud. Pictured above, this scent is one of my literary scents, inspired by the Kate Chopin novel and featuring seaweed inclusions collected on a beach on Malibu. A complex, unisex, warm, slightly sweet, earthy, powder scent with Patchouli and underlying spices and resins, and a unique top to middle note: the very precious white flower from Tasmania, called Boronia. $120.00 15 ml, $50.00 6 ml

 

Kyphi, probably the sweetheart of my aromatic oeuvre thus far. Inspired by the smell of the ancient, sacred, handmade incense from ancient Egypt (several ancient varieties exist, among them, Syria and Greece) the light, uplifting scent features notes of Cinnamon, Frankincense, Vanilla along with other exotic resins, woods and spices $110.00 15 ml, $45.00 6 ml

 

The Star Seller, a star-shaped flower for a star-shaped theme (pictured above.) This scent was inspired by a Donovan song called The Seller of Stars. Very sweet and magical, and somehow merged in my imagination while living in Nevada County, CA where I always appreciated the smoky, star-filled skies of winter, often going outside at night to take a peep, and a sniff. The perfume is a white flower blend, but is also grounded with Sandalwood and other subtle, earthy elements. Not too sweet, but distinctly feminine.

$110.00 15 ml, $45.00 6 ml

 

Merlin the Bard, the scent I often wear, and the most delightful of all perfume collections I have ever researched, Merlin the Bard comes from my Arthurian Scent Collection. Designed to represent the element of fire, this archetypal scent features Palo Santo, Tobacco, and other sacred botanical ingredients that recall earth as well as fire. $100.00 15 ml, $40.00 6 ml

 

The Green Mantle, the first perfume I ever made. Featuring an inclusion of Oak Moss, this classic, mossy green fougère was designed to be a unisex scent, and remains an Arabesque oldie-but-goodie. Another scent I wear myself! Wear/smell when your head is in the stars, and you wish to come back to Earth! $100.00 15 ml, $40.00 6 ml

 

 

The Man of the Woods, another literary scent and perhaps the most popular of my unisex scents. A soulful, wild perfume inspired by DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley stories, and also by DH Lawrence’s personal creed, which I find to be deep, as well as deeply gorgeous. Literary critics have surmised that Lawrence based the character of the Man of the Woods upon himself and, in my humble opinion, his personal creed certainly seems to reflect this.

“This is what I believe: That I am I. That my soul is a dark forest. That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest. That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back. That I must have the courage to let them come and go. That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women. There is my creed.”
–DH Lawrence.

The Man of the Woods is sexy, with warm vanilla notes and earthy resins like Cabrueva, Vetiver, Tonka Bean, Peru Balsam. $110.00 ml, $45.00 6 ml

 

Drann, my Irish-inspired perfume, pictured above, is another unisex scent and features the essential oils from trees and botanicals that are considered sacred. Drann is a smooth, subtle, resinous, warm, unisex, meditative scent, featuring Oud, Frankincense, Myrrh, Cedarwood, Cistus, Lavender and Rosewood. The word ‘drann’ has its linguistic roots in early Northern European languages and the root of the word speaks of turning, twisting, weaving, and influencing via magic. (The same root is found in the old Irish word for Druid, Drai, wizard, Draoi, the Gaelic word for enchantment, Draoidheacht.) The Celtic spiral is a visual representation, a symbol, of this same magical meaning. (Celtic Knotwork and interlace is probably the most famous example of this.) A magical scent. $110.00 15 ml, $45.00 6 ml

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To order a handmade botanical perfume, please email arabesquebotanicals@gmail.com, and I will respond with a Paypal invoice. Perfumes ship insured Priority Mail with a 7-14 day turnaround. International shipping is also available.

 

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Midwinter Tidings!

trier

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ARABESQUE! 

December News:

~Two bars of Rebecca’s delicious, handmade soap in The Holly, Moss, and Ivy scent remain. And fresh, complimentary batches of The Holly, Moss, and Ivy, The Awakening, and The Thousand and One Nights botanical perfume await you.

~My themed Scent Samplers make pretty nifty gifties, and can be sent directly to the recipient. I hand-write gift cards upon request and am always delighted to play the role of Secret Santa whenever required!

~Several hardbound copies of my cookbook remain.

~I am feeling excited to make my end-of-year donation to my non-profit of choice for 2015, Bird Note. Here is a link to their Bird-themed Christmas Carol, from last year. (My cats are huge fans of this song. Usually they prefer that I play it with the windows open, at least five times in a row, while they gaze outside, and drool, and dream… )

~In the above photo, from May 2011, I am lighting a candle at the 12th century St. Peter’s Dom in Trier, Germany with my dear pal Brandi. School is finished for 2015, and now I am just intent in keeping my own metaphorical candles lit in my small corner of the world. Despite the news outlets and social media, I am keeping an eye on what is dear, and sacred in my life…. and am wishing the same for you!

ks trier

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The Holly, Moss, and Ivy…

hollymossandivy6

The Holly, Moss, and Ivy botanical perfume

Always excited by the evergreen symbolism that accompanies Winter, I have decided to mix up a seasonal batch of my botanical perfume “The Holly, Moss, and Ivy” this year.

I first created “The Holly, Moss, and Ivy” in 2012 when I moved from Los Angeles to Northern California. The kitties and I took a cozy 19th century log cabin in the woods two miles outside of downtown Grass Valley. A very large, wonderful old Holly tree, cut into a traditional topiary-style, stood at the entrance-way of my front yard, which was bordered by an equally large and wonderful Ivy hedge. (This hedge was full of buzzing honeybees that summer, and I loved to stand nearby and just listen to them.)

Winnifred Kitten, in our new back yard.

My new surroundings were constantly inspiring to my perfumer’s nose – and eyes – each of the three seasons I lived there. And this scent was born from that enthusiasm.

“The Holly, Moss, and Ivy” botanical perfume is a sweet, earthy, warm, resinous, yet slightly powdery scent, composed mainly of Peru Balsam, Patchouli, and Lavender with a touch of Clary Sage and Vanilla. The scent is also available to sample and via Rebecca’s beautiful handmade botanical soaps which are available in the “Holly, Moss, and Ivy” scent throughout the season. They are harmoniously-blended to perfectly match and strengthen this green, unisex botanical scent in the fougère style. (This soap also has similar notes to The Awakening, and The Man of the Woods, and can be layered with all three botanical perfumes.) Arabesque soap-and-perfume gift sets will also be seasonally available.

(Note: Orders containing the Holly, Moss, and Ivy soap will ship the first week in December. To ensure availability, pre-orders are not only welcome but encouraged.)

hawthornesoap1

 

My first Winter in Grass Valley was also the first Winter in a long, long while, that I could go outside and gather all of the Christmas greens I wanted from my own front yard! Quite a luxury for me!

I look forward to doing the same this year in Nevada County, and can already see and smell the fresh Cedar boughs, tied together with a red ribbon, adorning my front door!

 

kings n queens

I will leave you with a traditional English song on plant folklore and how beautifully it is intertwined with the seasons, taken from a book that I always keep on hand this time of year: John Matthew’s The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas. 

O, the holly bears a berry as white as pure silk,
And the Lady bore the Green Man
When the ewes give their milk.
And the Lady bore the Green Man
Our first hope for to be,
And the first Prince of the springtime
It was the birch tree,
Birch tree, birch tree,
And the first prince of the springtime
It was the birch tree.

O, the birch he bears a leaf-o
As green as the moss,
And the Lady bore the Green Man
To dance in the grass,
And the Lady bore the Green Man
That merry we might be.

And the Princess of the Maytime
Is the young hawthorn tree.
Hawthorn tree, Hawthorn tree,
Hawthorn tree, hawthorn tree.
And the Princess of the Maytime
Is the young Hawthorn tree.

O, the Hawthorn bears a prickle
As keen as the sun,
And the Lady bore the Green Man
To die in the corn,
And the Lady bore the Green Man
Our harvest for to be,
And the first Queen of the autumn
Is the old apple tree.
Apple-tree, apple-tree.
And the first Queen of the autumn
Is the old apple tree.

O, the apple bears a fruit-o, as blood as it is red.
And the Lady bore the Green Man
Our last hope for to be,
And the first King of the winter
He was the holly,
Holly holly,
And the first King of the winter,
He was the Holly. 

robin at chalice well gardens

May your winter months be merry and bright!

~Kirsten

Photographs:
-During a visit to the Chalice Well Gardens in Somerset, UK, the day after Christmas, this little Robin seemed to follow me everywhere. England, 2008.
-Departed Kings and Queens taken from a Winter trip to the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England. 2008.
-Hawthorn berries harvested from a tree just outside my home at the base of the Ivy tree, with Rebecca’s soap, Grass Valley, CA. 2012.
-Miss Winnifred Iselda Kitten, bird-watching in the backyard of our Grass Valley home. CA. 2012.
-The Holly, Moss, and Ivy botanical perfume nestled in the crevices of my Italian Plum tree, Grass Valley, CA. 2012.

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A Succulent September

Natural Botanical Perfumes by Arabesque Aromas

 

chopin

 

The Awakening botanical perfume

“She reminded him of some beautiful, sleek animal waking up in the sun.”

― Kate Chopin, The Awakening

Now ready to ship! My favorite Arabesque Aromas perfume ever returns as my Fall 2015 scent.
“The Awakening” is a fresh, complex, green, blooming scent inspired by the also-blooming main character, Edna Pontellier of Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening published in 1899. A tragic yet beautiful story very much ahead of its time.

The main perfume ingredient in “The Awakening” botanical perfume is the deliciously complex and deliciously green Tasmanian flower, Boronia. Though initially created as a Summer perfume in 2012, I discovered that “The Awakening” is spicy and deep enough to carry it’s wearer into Autumn and Winter quite nicely. It is also a unisex scent.

The blend contains the essential oils of Peru Balsam, Patchouli, Black Pepper, and Boronia. Each bottle contains a small piece of seaweed, harvested myself in Malibu, CA. Seaweed seemed an appropriate symbol for Edna’s oceanic, feminine, inner life…

The perfume is available in 1 ml sample sizes, 3 ml bottles, or 1/3 oz. in my signature minaret-style bottle.

A wonderful website devoted to the work of Kate Chopin can be found here.

 

k and s and a

 

Sasha of Astral Boutique came for a visit. She brought me a fragrant armful of peaches from her tree, snapped some cute photos of us, and we cooked a fantastic dinner together. Pictured on my lap is the ranch darling, overall star of the show (AND Winnifred Kitten’s best friend) Amelia.

Where would we be without our friends?!

soap!

Available while supplies last… 

And speaking of friends… This handmade soap, made by my friend Rebecca, was specifically formulated for use in concert with Arabesque’s “Alexandria” botanical perfume. A customer favorite, “Alexandria” is a fiery, sensuous botanical scent featuring pure Rose and Cinnamon essential oil; two precious perfume ingredients that were highly regarded by the ancient Egyptians. The combination will strengthen, layer and extend the lasting power of the “Alexandria” scent on your skin. This soap can also be used in concert with my Fall 2014 scent, “Virelai.” Soap designed and created exclusively for Arabesque Aromas by the exquisite Ballerina Farmer Artisan Aromatherapy.

figgylicious

My Black Jack Fig Tree — fig season is one of many reasons that September is my most favorite time of year! 

D ackerman post and medieval pic.

And introducing

The Circle of Melissae:
A Virtual Circle and Online Community for
Kitchen Witches, Cat Ladies, and Other Like-minded Souls, we are…

 

 Inspired by the magical turnings, cycles, and rhythms of the year.
In love with honeybees and their ancient symbolism of divinity and divine messages.
Intrigued by bats, birds, and the animal kingdom.
Smitten equally with the celestial, and the terrestrial.
With plants, flowers, minerals.
With the elements. The seasons.
With trees and their folklore…
Concerned with the artisanal. The creative. The handmade life.
And always aspiring to purity, beauty, love, kinship, community,
and the heartfelt path.

***
Annual Membership Subscription is $60.00
Inquire further at arabesquebotanicals@gmail.com.

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A Note on Wearing Botanical Perfumes

It’s true that Botanical, or Natural, Perfumes are very different creatures than the more traditional, ‘Department Store’ synthetic creations that many people are used to. When making the switch our noses, and indeed our actual beauty routine, needs a bit of re-training, re-structuring and re-organizing.

But the sensory (not to mention the healthful!) rewards of switching to all-natural scents are numerous, and well worth it.

One common complaint is that natural scents just don’t last, or carry, like the synthetic brands do. But in my years of wearing essential oil-based perfumes, I’ve never found this to be a problem. I have strangers come up to me frequently, to tell me that I smell really good!

I think this is because I’ve always been a huge fan of layering my botanical scents. It’s when I’m in the shower that I decide which perfume I will be wearing for the day. I often have more than one body bar, and I make it a point to only buy botanical/natural/essential oil soaps that match my perfume with at least one, but preferably two, common notes.

Generally, my personal scents all have a Patchouli note in common. So I keep a large glass apothecary jar filled with Patchouli-scented bath salts in my bathroom. I bring a scoop into the shower with me and rub my neck, arms, shoulders and lower back down with the fragrant salt. It’s a wonderful exfoliant, lends an extra perfume-layer to one’s fragrance, the Patchouli smells amazing and, as we know, essential oil enhances our physical and emotional health and wellbeing. The salt feels wonderful on my skin, too.

As a result, showering is one of my favorite and most sensuous moments of the day. I always look forward to my nurturing personal routine.

And perhaps even moreso, since I’ve bee-friended the very sweet and oh-so-talented Rebecca Silence of Ballerina Farmer Artisan Aromatherapy.

Rebecca, based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is a talented aromatherapist, botanical perfumer and my very favorite soapmaker. In. The. World. (My favorite and highly-recommended Ballerina Farmer soap, btw, is the Very aptly-named “Swoon!”)

Rebecca and I have partnered up this year, creating three very pure and very beautiful handmade soaps blended to match three of Arabesque’s 2012 botanical scents; The Awakening, Alexandria, and the ever-popular Kyphi! (Which I think I’ve just sold out of, again!!! That’s how yummy her soap is, folks…)

Please visit Arabesque’s Handmade Salts and Soaps category in the Etsy shop for more information on Rebecca’s lovely creations designed exclusively for Arabesque, or visit her website to reach Ballerina Farmer Artisan Aromatherapy directly.

Also available in the Arabesque shop, bags of bath salts, custom-blended in the scent of your favorite Arabesque aroma, all made with love, by yours truly!

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