When I published an Instagram post a couple of days ago, talking about Aroma M collection, I wrote: „Artisan perfumers are „the salt of the Earth“ – their creativity, independence, inspiration, and passion are a strong, moving force.”
So, may the Force be with me… I’m always delighted to meet artisan perfumers and enjoy the fragrances they create!
Recently I received a sample pack from Aroma M Perfumes – the Geisha Collection. I guess you could say that Maria McElroy work is riding the wave of the „greener age“ in perfumery, where sustainable resources are vital, ecology being a new luxury, and fragrances are not only beguiling, but help alleviate daily stress and promote wellbeing, but she is present since 1995!
Natural ingredients are a strong new direction, so if you are just getting acquainted with „naturals“ – please be patient. Natural oils evolve on the skin in a more discreet fashion, it’s all about you and your skin, not impressing anyone. It’s about their intimate relationship with your skin, they blend with your personal aura, rather than change it. Of course, there will be synthetic elements, musks, or fixatives for example, but the point is to embrace what naturals bring: the ritual. Since they are mostly soft-spoken, you will probably need to apply more than once during a day, enjoying the personality of your fragrance that evolves and adapts, shines, and breathes together with you.
Maria McElroy, an American-born painter transferred her color and texture blending talents to the art of fragrance blending.
Her fascination with Japan led her to learn the art of Ikebana, Koto, and Shiatsu (tea ceremony) during her seven years stay in Japan. She found her inner Geisha there, added that to her aromatherapy studies, and started the company in 1995.
What you might notice in her work is a fascination with Japanese traditional incense use, as in Kodo – the Japanese Incense Ceremony.
Let’s take a closer sniff at some I chose to wear. I added a haiku poem to each fragrance, reflecting how I experienced it:
It is fresh, white, uplifting: an ode to a traditional French perfumery. Lily of the Valley, Muguet. I really loved its sharp freshness, tender magnolia, again, a connection with Japan being made through white Japanese Magnolia. The citrusy notes are sparkling fresh, a bit volatile, making it sweet-and-sour. Marron stands for chestnut blossom, with its fresh yet honey-like scent, very softly performing on my skin. This fragrance really stood out for me, I only wish it could last longer…When a fragrance is so fine and interesting, I really don’t mind reapplying! Patience…easy does it! (I broke the sample vial…)
Hello Spring! Life is beautiful!
The spring breeze
(amezaiku:A candy fashioned in human and animal forms)
The color of red. A red kimono. Red lips, a white Geisha’s face. The color suits well this fragrance, it reflects its warmth. The incense is simply lovely, very gentle and softly spicy. I feel cinnamon and clove, giving that deep dark orange shine to this composition. Clove is a bit prominent in the beginning, later on, it settles on dry tobacco shreds. It’s more like a just soft touch of tobacco, little smokey, surrounded by ambery notes. Opulent and exciting, sweet and spicy, a nice, warm scent for Autumn days…
I want to see
And to meet you
With stepping on the thin ice.
A non-color, a tone. White. Geisha wearing a white wedding kimono, poised and elegant. But if you take a closer look, you will see her collar revealing the most sensual part of the body: her neck. Her moves are soft, slow and dignified…A burst of cool, fresh white flowers, sweet as the first Spring blossoms, ever so delicate yet their scent fills our hungry nostrils with hope and optimism. An abstract white floral, calming and easy to wear. Like a fresh Spring early morning…Good timing, Spring is here!
Floating in the breeze,
A single butterfly.
“What will Geisha Noire do for you: combat stress, clear the thought process, undo the inhibitions, assist in meditation and prayer.“
What it did to me: well, I could understand what „undoing the inhibitions“ was supposed to mean. This is a thick, sensual fragrance – a spicy-oriental featuring clove, amber, and sweet tonka bean. It moves and glides in waves of soothing, embracing hugs, in a quite addictive way. It lasted and performed well on my skin.
Burning the fallen leaves,
The warm winter day is
Geisha Vanilla Hinoki
What a lovely, lovely Morrocan Vanilla core! I couldn’t stop sniffing it: a Vanilla to my taste, never too sweet, never overwhelming or boozy, with a beautifully layered accent of smoky and green to it! My definite favorite! Quite sophisticated, comforting, relaxing and with a good staying power. Notes: bergamot, hinoki, lavender, leather, patchouli, amyris and hinoki wood. I am still amazed by this good quality, non-foody, incense tainted- vanilla! Bravo, Maria!
The butterfly touches
and go around the base stone
And the glass give off the smell.
Botan is Japanese for peony: beautiful, big, yet short-lived, fresh smelling flowers. I’ve learned that it is known as the „King of flowers“ in Japan, a symbol of good fortune bravery and honor.
Imagine a garden filled with lush pink peony blossoms, a feast for your eyes and for your nose! The soft, rose-like scent is rising as the wind gently ruffles pink petals. Now imagine how well peony blends with roses, Morrocan roses (did I mention that Maria sources her ingredients from Morroco?). Inhale deeply once again and feel the forest surrounding this garden, adding deeper and more velvety tones to this image. Enter vanilla, that beautiful vanilla I mentioned when describing Geisha Vanilla Hinoki, but now its denser and darker, adding a honey-like breath of its beauty, spreading it over buttery sandalwood, leaving us only to inhale deeper and feel that mossy base everything is set upon. This is a peony-rose-themed fragrance I would turn to when I’m on my annual rose binge, definitely!
Notes: Peony, Morrocan rose, sandalwood, Morrocan vanilla, Bourbon vanilla, woods, lichen, oakmoss, musk.
one poem per flower
will not do.
The Geisha color-named fragrances are wrapped in traditional Yuzen paper from Kyoto.
Check out the prices for perfume oils and eau de parfum at the Aroma M website here.
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, Aroma M Perfumes
Samples and general information provided by Aroma M, opinions of my own. Haiku poems quoted are written by famous Japanese poets.