Thursday, April 14, 2011

Visit to Sonoma Scent Studio

Sonoma Scent Studio

There is hardly anything more exciting than meeting face to face (or should I say - nose to nose?) with a fellow perfumer. And when the perfumer is Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio - a lady whose work and attitude I've admired and been my pen-pal for a couple of years now - it’s a real treat.

Sonoma county is all beautiful, and the spot where Sonoma Scent Studio is located is breathtakingly stunning. The winding driveway in Healdsburg leads to a beautiful wooden cottage that is built like a tree-house among ancient oaks observing beautiful green hills covered in vineyards.

Entering the house, there is no mistaking Laurie’s olfactory style from the aromas that linger in the air. All at once, everything in there smells like a Sonoma Scent Studio perfume, or probably a mixture of all of them… And Laurie is as wonderful, sweet and knowledgeable in person as you'd imagine from reading her blog, Perfume in Progress, and sniffing her beautiful, sophisticated olfactory ensembles. And I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Laurie is a tea aficionado as wel, and collects tea cup, as well as (not surprisingly) vintage perfume flacons.

We spent the entire afternoon sniffing our way through each other’s latest creations, and the scents that I haven’t smelled from Laurie’s collection yet. And of course – the inevitable discussion and marveling at raw materials. Laurie had treasures that I have never smelled before, such as clover absolute (very similar to hay, but perhaps a little less grassy and more similar to tonka bean – with more coumarin I suppose), and
Oakwood absolute, from French oak barrels, which smelled woody and a little dry-mossy to my nose, with definite broom and honey absolute sweetness underneath. And I also got to smell some synthetics which I’ve never smelled on their own before, including some ionones and jasmine lactones. Raw materials are always so fascinating!

Oak coming back to life
I’ve already fallen in love with Laurie’s Sienna Musk and Champagne de Bois that she sent me a while back in the mail. So I wanted to discover scents I haven’t tried yet – some are probably not that new to many of you, but were new to me, which I’m really thankful I got to take a sample home with me to try (and I will write about in more detail after wearing them a few more times).
Lieu de Reves and To Dream both have oakwood absolute in them, but the latter is a more bold. I found them intriguing and multilayered. And Laurie’s love for rose is very apparent – she has a few quite different rose themed fragrances, and they are all very well made and surprisingly different from one another – Vintage Rose has a lot of depth, Cameo has more of an antique quality to it, and is more complex, and Rose Musc is as simple as the name suggests – but done so much better than others in that very popular genre. I found it to be also true for her Egyptian Musk – which has non of the harshness that so many of the musk oils got.

White Violet
I was particularly smitten with Voile de Violette. Violet fragrances can be easily too old-fashioned or sweet, but this has interesting contrasts - a seemingly shy violet underlined with a rich, incensey base with a lot of myrrh.

I’m looking forward to continue exploring these perfumes on my skin, and can only hope that this meeting was the first in many more to come!

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At April 18, 2011 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the sweet comments! I really enjoyed having you visit! It's fun to do a sniff fest with another perfumer. I already knew I loved Ayalitta, Palas Atena and Espionage, but I discovered some new ones this time too. I was surprised I liked the seaweed in your scents because I didn't like the seaweed absolute I've sniffed -- I like yours better, and the way you used it.

I like the pictures you snapped. Isn't that white violet funny! That pot used to have purple/blue violets but this year they came up white!


At April 18, 2011 10:33 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...


It was such a treat visiting with you! I'm glad you enjoyed my new seaweed laden perfumes - what I used is a seaweed oil, not the absolute; but I loved all the seaweeds I've smelled. The absolute sure is potent though! I should bring you some to try next time :-)

The violets' fading colour is very strange... They are very pretty in white though too! Wonder what made them lose their colour?


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