One of the great pleasures in this perfume pursuit is discovering indie / artisanal brands that stand apart from the mainstream, designer and luxury niche brands furnishing store shelves. Recently I made a new find with Aroma M Perfumes, a perfume house based in New York. Maria McElroy is the founder and perfumer but is a creative in other fields. She’s also an artist and aromatherapist with a deep connection to Japan. She has spent many years there immersing herself in the study of Japanese art and culture and this clearly plays a large influence in her Aroma M creations. I follow McElroy on Instagram and like to view her travels and New York slice of life photos. Isn’t that the great thing about Instagram. We get to see different cities and continents from another perspective. An edited version of course but it’s something that I love about this media, more than any other. The visual takes primary position and each day there are beautiful scenes and imagery to savour if only for a brief moment.
I first became aware of Aroma M due to recent release Geisha Vanilla Hinoki that garnered excellent reviews on blogs I follow and was suitably intrigued. The collection focuses on perfumes (Eau De Parfum) and oils, so your preference can be catered to. Personally I adore the feel of oil on skin, maybe more than a spray of perfume. I find the feel of oil more sensual. It takes time to smooth on skin and in this sense is more like an extrait. The benefit of oils of course are that you can spread and massage onto skin. It soothes and stimulates depending on mood and occasion.
Maria relayed that the perfumes are created from the oils but as alcohol is added to the perfumes the experience is different. Her idea with the two formats is that they can be worn together, layered for the ultimate effect. The packaging for the perfumes and oils is gorgeous with a Japanese aesthetic. The bottles for the EDPs and the containers for the oils are covered in Japanese patterned Yuzen papers. They have a beautiful hand crafted look that avoids the ubiquitous modern, clean lines approach.
Today’s piece covers five perfume oils from the collection that I gravitated towards from the sample set kindly sent from Maria. I’ll say right now that If you like artisanal work this is a brand that stands apart due to Maria’s experiences and her kinship with Japan and is well worth exploring.
Geisha Noire Perfume Oil : Notes : Sandalwood, tonka bean, black amber, vanilla
This is an incredible scent and one that immediately forged a close connection. Geisha Noire is a sumptuous oriental Queen with incredible longevity that nourishes and feeds my sensory cravings. A dark amber with a smoky aspect that whispers loudly against a sort of plastic edge that might sound a little odd but it works oh so well. A little spiciness is present too, waxing and waning as the oil warms. This is by far the most potent scent of those sampled from Aroma M and also the most languidly sexy and sensual. Really beautiful work and exceedingly lustworthy.
Geisha Violet Perfume Oil : Notes : Violet, lilac, lotus, bitter chocolate
Geisha Violet is an oddball and all the more intriguing for it. I was instantly drawn to this oil, although it perhaps is not as ‘me’ as Geisha Noire. Imagine the aroma of a damp wet garden filled with the scent of sweet violet and lilac then blindsided by a watery chocolate fog. On paper it sounds as though it shouldn’t really work but it does. The perfume oil becomes more floral over time, quite powdery but always touching. It’s a Tim Burton fairy tale scent that brims with life and strange characters. Raw yet quirky and doesn’t smell like anything I’ve tried before and this is a good thing.
Geisha Green Oil : Notes : Absinthe, blackcurrant, mandarin orange, violet, amber tonic bean, black liquorice
A green perfume but not a full cut grass scent at all. Nor is it a cold ice queen style scent. Geisha Green is a lushly ripe cocktail that hints at the joys of spring and the peeling back of winter’s ire. I imagine that a sprightly nymph has popped something in my drink. It’s light, slightly fruity with some candied sweetness that doesn’t tip the boat. Geisha Violet smells more ‘green’ to me but this scent also has that same intriguing mood. There’s something about Aroma M perfumes that offer a sense of enchantment. I suppose with the addition of absinthe (yes please) and liquorice, this was going to be a fragrance to personally love. If you don’t like green perfumes, don’t let the name put you off as it’s much more aromatic and smooth. There’s an elegance at play along with a sharp mind that wears well on skin.
Geisha Rouge Oil : Notes : Sandalwood, clove, cinnamon, incense, tonka bean, vanilla, tobacco, star anise
This is a spice bomb. If you like hot, fiery scents this is one to try. In the vein of Opium and Cinnabar but not nearly as scary. Geisha Rouge has a sublime pep with a dominant clove facet so you do need to like this spice to enjoy the scent. The accompanying smoky vanilla adds a more nuanced effect. I’m envisaging a deep red patterned vintage wallpapered room laden with antiques and a fire that warms the soul.
Geisha Hana-Cha Oil : Notes : Bergamot, jasmin, ylang-ylang, cedar
A full-blown jasmine and ylang-ylang love child that is seriously sultry. This screams summer for me and I expected Hana-Cha to inhabit the world of light, fresh tea like scents but that is not the case at all. Well not on my skin anyway. Admittedly I’m trying all of these perfumes in summer and the heat really makes perfumes bloom. For those of you who enjoy white florals with an allure that errs to the natural, this madam is ripe for tasting.
Pricing : Please refer to the Aroma M website Perfume Oils range from $US 60 to 75 : Eau de Parfums from $US 95 to 110.
Notes : Images : Featured : Tim Walker and Aroma M.
Disclosure : Samples gratefully received from Aroma M. Opinions my own.