Wednesday, April 9, 2014

CAESURA ~ April 2014 Aromatic Muse Perfume ~ Mate & Masala, a Tibetan Tea House Scent.


:: April 2014 Aromatic Muse Perfume ::

Mate & Masala, a Tibetan Tea House Scent. A Reason to Pause.


cae·su·ra noun \si-ˈzyu̇r-ə, -ˈzhu̇r-\
plural cae·suras or cae·su·rae


1: in modern prosody :  a usually rhetorical break in the flow of sound in the middle of a line of verse

2: Greek & Latin prosody :  a break in the flow of sound in a verse caused by the ending of a word within a foot

3:  break, interruption

4:  a pause marking a rhythmic point of division in a melody
— cae·su·ral  adjective

Origin of CAESURA: Late Latin, from Latin, act of cutting, from caedere to cut
First Known Use: 1556

Photo: Marlaina Donato

Caesura opens upon entering the sacred tea house on the top of Mt. Huashan. After an exhilarating ascent scaling the vertical rocks and meeting the skyline of the Gods, we arrive at our reward: a pause for tea in heaven.

The breeze is infused with volatile oils rising from the tables, and the glowing scent of early afternoon awakens the spirit. Mingling Bergamot, Masala spices, Saffron, Cardamom, and Yerba Mate are comforting and alluring.

Photo: Marlaina Donato

As deep conversation ensues over a second pouring of tea, relieved from the rush of everyday life, we find ourselves steeped in philosophical conversation, relaxed nerves, harmonious company, and richly treated senses. 

A decadent heart of Jasmine, Opopanox, Rose, Violet and Juniper weave seamlessly throughout the center.

The strongest of teas slightly over steeped grace the last sips. A dry finish lingers softly, imprinting memories of an unforgettable soul journey. 

True Mysore Sandalwood, Haitian Vetiver, Orris Root, Tea leaf dregs and faint reminders of spices and twigs hold you close as you carefully descend the mountain.

Caesura layers especially well with membership perfumes: Sastun, Ometepe, Vetiver-Cocoa, and Vintage Violet. It also layers well with single note vanilla if you keep your own essential oils.

It is 'pure parfum' strength: a 35% aromatics to base ratio. With this perfume, it is a lovely strength because you can wear as little or as much as you want, depending on your preference or occasion. Apply with glass wand, or with the open bottle top for a generous dose, but be careful, it is spillable!  
Caesura is perfect for day or evening wear.

Perfume family: Floral Gourmand, Tea

Sillage: 1-6 hours depending on application

There are three remaining, listed in the shop. Be aware I will remove the listings if new members subscribe.

and a few samples:


Photo: Marlaina Donato



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

VASHTI ~ A Lotus Crochet Perfume & Pouch Collaboration: Pink Lotus. Nigella. Carnation. Petitgrain. with matching cuticle balm. AROMATIC MUSE MARCH 2014



A Designer Crochet Perfume & Handcrafted Pouch: 

Pink Lotus. Nigella. Carnation. Petitgrain. 

.Lotus Yarn.

...with Matching Cuticle Balm...

Vashti begins with a clear, graceful opening of Petitgrain & Bergamot accord to refresh the spirit and inspire. It is followed by a nuanced, complex, subtle heart of Nigella, Carnation, Acacia & Lavender Honey Absolutes, and a melody of botanicals with honey notes, herbal whims, aquatic suggestions, and intriguing softness.
Drying down into the Pink Lotus roots of the perfume, Vashti unfurls and evolves into a meditative zone - where creativity flourishes and beautiful things effortlessly manifest. 

Vashti perfume is about the creative process. It is about yarn. It is about texture and patterns. It is a companion perfume to your Muse. A date with tapping the creative sap welling up in your being. 
It is the smell of new wet earth emerging in spring.

And it is about Vashti.

Vashti is like a blue topaz, a poem, fine sparkling champagne with a shot of damiana cordial. She is also wickedly fierce, authentic, articulate, and free spirited. She has been an inspiration to me since I was in my early teens. This year it is an honor and delight to feature her work and to thank her for her presence - and so we have the Vashti perfume.

I may not want to you know this, but my teen years were a bit, um, tumultuous. I lived with my mama and we needed a house mate to help rent our space. Vashti soon decorated her lair with flowing blue silk scarves, sacred beads, witch books, and turned her space into an enchanted altar. I was mesmerized.

She kept a jewelry place in her closet ... and on it was a tiny vial of lavender flowers, soaking in almond oil.
You can bet I was curious:    wait what? Perfume oil by soaking plants?! Oh my.

So many moments like this - seminal realizations of a more sensual, connected life - a life of plant potions and magic!
Of hope and emotional growth.

Soon I was extracting reading material (Starhawk!) from her repertoire and observing her impeccable herbal journaling notes. Her handwriting is like fine lace.

Soon, the three of us were all working in the same health food store (Vashti, my mom, and me). They worked in the herb section .... delving into every possible herb and herbal remedy they could. They would bring home Ayurvedic herbs, Chinese herbs, and European herbs to experiment with. We had a continual pot on the stove - where a brew created by one of us always simmered.

We would convene in the kitchen and compare our tasting notes on Dong Quai Gin, on the tastes of schizandra, and just how much stevia to add. We made love potions and rolled our own gotu kola and mint herbal smokes and sacredly - mischievously - enjoyed them together. My friends affectionately called them potpourri joints.

This was a solid beginning to my potion making journey. (beyond the child-play of mixing grass and mud and apple blossoms in the park) I started my own herbal journals and later continued learning more preparations and herbs from my mother. It was also the beginning of my spiritual growth beyond what I had learned in the Vedic community.

I was inspired to listen to my body, to my inner wisdom, and to the magic of the plant world. This knowledge and early inspiration is the 80% Nettle Fiber of my being. 

And there are many more stories I have not space for .... the music (Pretenders, Prince, The Cure), the love lives (and the angry neighbors), the back porch water fights, the trip to Chicago where I wore a completely inappropriate dress to a wedding. The smell of Eucalyptus oil and Summer Iowa thunderstorms. Wild Yam. 

Giant bowls of Rosewater whipped cream.

Vashti has since become an award winning (genius) crochet designer. I have seen those fingers twirl yarn into mathematical spells and it's astonishing! 
She has an impressive resume, a bank of designs in publications and online for you, as well as her newly launched LOTUS YARN ... which is designed and crocheted into your perfume pouch by Vashti herself, in Satin Grey.

If you love yarn, creative people, and crocheting, follow Vashti.

When I asked her what kind of perfume would most accurately portray her spirit, she didn't hesitate to tell me of her connection with lotus. I was thrilled - I have worked with lotus before (Nymphaea, Blue Tara) and have been wanting to create a new one based on Pink Lotus, Carnation, and Nigella.

Pink Lotus seems to suggest to people a bright, fruity-clean smell. In fact, it is not like that at all. It is more like dirty honey. It is subdued, unusual, polleny, textured, slightly aquatic, and slightly rooty. There are sweet earth notes to it, but waxy and hums in a lower key, so to speak, than a rose or neroli might. It responds well to creamy notes, florals, honey, fruits, and herbs, and can be a bit of a chameleon in perfume compositions. The process of smelling this perfume as it evolved and came together was incredibly fascinating.

Carnation is also a similar type aroma, but a little more tenacious and also doesn't really smell like a carnation in its flower phase where it's like clove scented soda. But the honey notes are significant and paired perfectly with the pink lotus and linden blossom included. Nigella added a fruity twist to the foundation of the perfume - not turning it into a fruit perfume but rather augmenting the unique layers of the heart notes and supporting the transition from the petitgrain/bergamot opening into the evolution of wear.

Inside this perfume there are many precious oils, one being an exquisite China Tea Rose that nearly brought tears to my eyes. You may not smell the rose notes exactly .... but it's presence in the perfume created a roundness that was key. Another magic moment in this perfume is a tiny touch of Violet leaf - which surprised me in its ability to buoy a creamy, borderline heavy base, without imposing its grassy voice. 

With these tricky ingredients and more elaborate packaging, I can say I have spent the most time on this perfume and set than any other. I hope it will resonate richly with the infused love and attention.
And since her hands are the weavers of her work, she suggested a matching cuticle balm to care for her fingers and nails. *Perfect. So in conjunction to the perfume, we have a matching nourishing balm for your crocheting (or knitting) fingers. Something to gently scent your skin, heal your cuticles, feed your cells, and be perfectly compatible with your yarn. Herbal oils soothe, and the natural lanolin penetrates all layers of your skin while imparting the nostalgic faint smell of hand spun wool.

Wearing this perfume as I write, I feel a pipeline to my creative feminine nature and I feel supported and held by the whispers of aromatic poetry and dance on my skin. And I am somewhat addictively smelling my wrists.

Vashti perfume is a light to medium tenacity botanical perfume. you may expect about 1-3 hours of close to the body intimate enjoyment. Re-apply as desired, and some natural settling of aromatic material to the bottom of the bottle in this whole, unfiltered perfume is normal.

It also naturally has a little bit of pollen color to it - take care if wearing white or light colored clothing (or anointing your yarn project) as it may stain.

Unfortunately there are no samples available for this perfume or balm as I was only able to create a very limited quantity due to the ingredients.

If you were a lover of my Vaganova, Nymphaea, Tilia's Song, or Ometepe, perfumes, you will quite likely adore Vashti.

I hope that some of you will enjoy wearing this during a spell of crocheting or knitting, too.

Thank you Vashti - for being you. A beacon and role model of magic, hope, beauty, creativity, and wonder for me.


Find your Limited Edition 2014 VASHTI Perfume and cuticle balm set HERE SOON.



Professional photography by Marlaina Donato

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Apothecary Rose Soliflore Pomade & Vetiver Cocoa Red Perfume :: Aromatic Muse, February '14

Apothecary Rose Soliflore Pomade 

& Vetiver Cocoa, a Red Perfume 

:: Aromatic Muse, February '14 ::

This month I went classic with a twist of couture for a Valentine's Day treat of two complimentary items that were simply meant for each other. 

The Apothecary Rose Soliflore Pomade is inspired by ancient cone shaped perfumed unguents worn in the hair, slowly melting and scenting one's hair, face, and neck throughout the night. Rose petals, floral enfleurages, and fragrant resins were often used, macerated in fat and then molded into semi-solid pastilles to be worn.

This pomade is different in that it is very soft - not waxy or tacky like drugstore hair pomades but rather silky, melty, and moisturizing while beautifully scenting your skin or hair. You will need to store it in a cool place away from light and heat sources.

I seldom create soliflores but Rose oil prices have risen considerably and February seemed a perfect opportunity to dive deeper into the flower of love. Rose is, of course, known for its heart healing power and incredible, unmatched aroma. It is complex, alluring, refreshing, relaxing, and intoxicating.

The beauty of a soliflore is that it can capture an artist's unique interpretation of a single flower while using a number of components to achieve their desired effect. This can make a rose with a fingerprint, so to speak. Soliflores can sometimes be more economical as well - by combining more affordable, comlimentary materials with the highlighted plant into a simile composition, we can provide a more lavish or long lasting application. 

 I have used a melody of spices, roots, florals, gums, several pure rose types (ottos, absolutes, wax, and concrete), with subtle sweets to create a bright, crisp rose balm reminiscent of rolling in a grassy meadow next to a lush rose-laced river. It opens green, cascades into multifaceted rose nuances similar to the shift of an open rose from dawn (sugary and bright) to high noon (potent with a hint of tannin), and holds out for a very satisfying drydown ~ like sipping  a rose cordial at sunset. 

My goal for this pomade was to recreate an outdated recipe in a more applicable, elegant base with a vibrant signature fragrance suitable for multipurpose use.

Enjoy your Rose pomade for a luxury hand balm, hair oil ( a little goes a long way) or to perfume and nourish your skin as you like. The base of natural oils is botanically infused with repairing comfrey, toning roses, and sandalwood, and enriched with unrefined shea butter and kokum butter.


Vetiver ~ Cocoa :: Eau De Parfum

~ A double note base layer ~

I must be a New Englander ... I can't get enough of layering. And it must be February.... roses and chocolate!

 This accessory double note perfume is a dark and sultry seduction of fine Haitian Vetiver and indulgent Cocoa absolute in a base of fragrant, artisanal wild harvested rose petal extract and oil. I harvest the roses by hand at the ocean in late spring for medicines and reserve a small jar tinctured especially for perfume. Combined with stable coconut oil we arrive at a silky non drying texture. This vixen of a perfume spray is a deep and intimate base for complimenting and holding your Rose Pomade, or for turning your day scent to night.  

Consider it the lingerie of botanical fragrance.

It is glamorous yet simple. I am thoroughly enjoying layering it as much as I love it on its own. Sweet yet sophisticated, delicious yet earthy and mysterious. Very wearable and beautifully long lasting.

You can help me celebrate my new etsy storefront by purchasing yours here



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

:: OMETEPE :: a Sweet Island Floral ~ Aromatic Muse Perfume ~ January 2014

:: OMETEPE :: 

Island Floral

~ an Aromatic Muse Perfume ~ 

January 2014


January is cold in New England.

When I step outside to gather resin and soak up the breath of the trees - I immerse myself fully in the glassy sun and contrast of landscape. I love the diamond dazzle of fresh snow and the sinuous bark of the nude ironwood trunks.

Yet there are days that are too cold. The snow layers upon itself so deep the horses aren't even allowed to roam the back fields for fear they may slip into the icy rivulets hidden under the new white camouflage. I bundle in my warmest and softest, twirl my hair up in a brass clip, breathe extra deeply of the lilies my husband brought home, and let my mind wander to far off lands........ where the flowers are sweating with scent and the landscape is saturated with pollen and nectar and the succulent fecundity of mother nature's absolute finest. 

Ometepe is a vacation in scent. It is both a creative adventure in natural perfumery but also very special to my heart - for it is the place on this planet that puts that snow-diamond sparkle into my daughter's eyes. She will be venturing back to the island Ometepe, Nicaraua, for the second time this spring. This is what I imagine the island smells like, and what I imagine feeling like upon inhaling the flowers and fruits and spices native to that land.

Ometepe is a composition I began back in August when I spent a weekend studying with Charna of Providence Perfume Company, who I highly recommend. It began as a solid perfume with a very simple 7 ingredient formula, and I have addictively worn it since, brainstorming and experimenting with complimentary additions to awaken its full potential as a fruity, sweet white floral island perfume. I wanted something with meaning and direction - which I realize are two parts of life strengthened in my daughter during her trip there. This perfume is sure to please the lover of exotic tropical flowers like Gardenia, the dripping ecstasy of fresh mangoes, a frothy ambrosia, Strgazer Lily pollen, a bit of vanilla-musk sweetness, and a hint of ginger spice.

This perfume puts many of my finest, most exotic and most costly aromatics on a pedestal. I'm certain that my secret informant during its creation was Thumbelina herself, and I am certain you may feel like a hummingbird while wearing it .... diving into flower after flower. Be prepared for something royal, something divinely feminine, and something utterly gorgeous.


Opening Notes: Citrus, Spice, Highlighting Bergamot, Pepper, Ginger, and very subtle Kaffir Lime

Heart Notes: Floral, Fruity, Creamy, Highlighting Champaca, Mimosa, Tuberose, Lily-Ylang, Ginger Lily, Frangipani, Bitter Almond, Orange Blossom, Red Tea, Honey & Gardenia notes.

Root Notes: Sweet, Feminine, Soft, Highlighting Vanilla, Sarsaparilla, Saffron, Orris root, Vetiver, Kapur, Beeswax, Jasmine, Musk

Over 25 natural botanical hand blended aromatics grace this pure perfume strength composition.

Warm Winter Blessings


Monday, January 6, 2014

LOVE DAY ~ Limited Edition Kundalini Collection ~ for Valentines Day 2014

photo/model Marlaina Donato ~ Amrita Collaborator and Muse

Love has swollen in my heart over the winter holiday vacation despite the chaos and bustle. Extra time for slowing down, warm snuggles, longer conversations, hot cinnamon tea, fully tasted fully flavored meals, new soft sweaters, and many treasured moments that lay softly in my soul like a snowflake that never needs to rush but rather lingers on the window long enough to see all its miraculous crystalline formations.

This exhale of last year and inhale of possibility feels like a reset button. Doodles in my journal about goals and hopes and dreams, gratitude for so much already present. I play at my blending table with exotic flowers and spices.... orchids, ginger, sexy flower essences, and honey notes for January's Aromatic Muse creation soon to be finished. Life is so full - so much finished and so much to go, discover, learn, be a part of.

I rest my mind in this moment and just let myself lay sweetly in the lap of mother time and a cup of tea.

The muse will visit me again and guide me into potion~making for Love Day 2014, and I hope you will allow me to treat you to a special handcrafted collection for you and your beloved, or just one for you to refill your well. I want to make you something extra special, botanically indulgent, and sweetly affectionate.

Limited Quantity, time sensitive.

KUNDALINI COLLECTION ~ For Love and Life Force

Kundalini Cordial - Delicious and Stimulating herbal potion for love rituals, date night ... serve in tea or sparkling drinks or by the drops on the tongue.

Botanical Perfume Oil in Heart shaped bottle, Double Note.
CHOOSE from Rose-Patchouli, Rose-Cocoa, Ylang-Spice, Jasmine-Champa, Or Incense & Embers (Jasmine Smoke), please indicate your selection in the notes box or email me.

Tantrika Butter for massage or lubrication (not latex friendly). Herbs and oils in Virgin Coconut oil with a touch of cocoa butter and beeswax.

Heartblood Hickory Cordial - An indulgence of hand gathered, hand cracked New England Hickory nuts extracted with Ceremonial Heartblood Cacao, spirits, and local honey. Slippery, delicious, and rich - this cordial awakens the sacred sensual and nourishes both yin and yang.

Amber Rose Powder - A sensual and exotic perfumed body powder made with traditional Amber resin crystals infused into Rose petal powder, Arrowroot powder, Kaolin clay, Stevia powder, and Vanilla. Use to scent hair, skin, or use to titillate your lover with feathers.

**Select Priority Mail please**
(due to weight & time I will only be mailing priority or priority flat rate.)

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Just a little something I brewed up.....

and it has created quite a stir

"Your Absinthe Vanilla (lip balm) tucked me into bed last night" ~Marlaina Donato

"My most favorite lip balm - eva! @anandalakshmi makes the best lip lovin skin magic botanical perfumery <3" ~Darcey Blue

"This stuff is Ahhmazin'!" ~FloraLuna

"I have been drunk on Ananda's Absinthe-Vanilla lip balm all night! But seriously.... it is the only thing saving my lips from drying out, disintegrating, and flaking off completely in this cold dry weather. Until her magic arrived, I was seriously concernyed! And nothing else was working! <3 you Ananda and all your medicines!" ~Meekah Sage

"I can't live without this lip balm. It's addicting!" -DS