Thursday, June 15, 2017

Last Day in Indonesia: Durga by D. S. & Durga



I've been reviewing perfumes I wore on a recent trip to visit temples in Central Java, here and here. The final stop on my perfume journey was at Prambanan, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia dating back to the ninth century, an era when Hinduism was the religion throughout the islands of Indonesia. Today I'll be reviewing Durga.

First to get you in the mood, go all the way to the end and click for a Durga Mantra. The words translate to, "Salutations to She who is beautiful to the seeker of truth and terrible in appearance to those who would injure devotees of truth."

When I was growing up in Texas our church was near a university and had a program where they matched international students with church families. This was long before internet or cell phones so many of these visitors felt very isolated from their home and our job was to help them with the adjustment and offer friendly support.  For whatever reason our students were always Indian and a little older, probably around thirty, and often had their family in tow. They would join us regularly for dinner then return the favor by introducing us to their native dishes. When I was about seven one of the students gifted us with a sandalwood carved statue of  Kali who is one of the faces of Durga, and is known as the destroyer.

Our Kali looked something like this. From the Calcutta Art Gallery.

Bless her heart, my very Southern Baptist mother who was the epitome of a good hostess placed Kali in a prominent position on a shelf in our family room where it remained for many years along side the World Book Encyclopedias. I remember gazing at this strange exotic creature, caught mid-movement in a dance pose, strongly balancing on one leg in a sort of tree pose with her eight arms curved outward like some beautiful dangerous human octopus. I remember thinking, although I wouldn't have known or used this description back then: she was a real badass, displaying a level gazed "don't mess with me" fierceness.

I had been carrying around a sample of the newest perfume by D.S. & Durga, entitled simply DurgaI knew that Prambanan, the last stop on our trip would no doubt feature a statue of Durga somewhere in its sprawl, so decided this would be the perfect venue to experience the scent. The pair that make up D.S. & Durga look like the coolest couple; if I lived in Brooklyn and was twenty years younger I'd want to be their besties. D.S. (David Seth Motz) is the nose and Kavi Ahuja, aka Durga, an architect by training is in charge of design and marketing. I will admit it, I love a good story when it comes to perfume. Call your perfume No. 1, 2 and 3, or something simple like Oud and I yawn. I want a legend, a memory, or an inspiration of place, so when I read the copy on their website, "D.S. & Durga believe in a perfume's ability to conjure unseen worlds." Or this one, "A great scent is a world you can return to over and over - a keyhole into another realm." Yes and yes! These people are speaking my language! Their inspirations are diverse. First it was cowboys and pioneers, then Russian novels. Under their Hylands brand name they've explored Scotland, and most recently India has served as inspiration. India was my first experience living abroad, it was my home for four years, and where my babies began their life so it will always hold a special place in my heart. I admit when a perfume has Indian roots I am already half in love; it is up to the perfume to lose my interest because I'm just waiting to embrace it.

Durga is not the powerhouse I am expecting when I first apply. Mind you, my skin seems to annihilate floral notes so I'm a friend to big perfumes.  I smell tuberose immediately and for half a second it has that mentholated smell that can present with tuberose, but then poof, it's gone. The tuberose is green and balmy, but for the moment the note is contained as if being held in check. After a few minutes a slightly discordant note enters. By discordant I don't mean unpleasant, it is a different aura from the white flower scent. At first I think it is marigold but by the perfumer's list I see it is chrysanthemum, a close cousin. I always feel like we in the West look at marigolds and chrysanthemum as second class flowers, but in the East they are valued for their bright colors and given special significance in religious ceremonies. I find the note they lend perfumes a little acrid and herbal, and it definitely takes what could be a white floral extravaganza to a more Eastern vibe with hints of spirituality.  So far this has my interest because there are already a lot of straight tuberose scented perfumes out there. Melon is listed as a note but I don't smell it, and I'm rather pleased at that. Not my favorite note. There is just a whisper of fresh greenness like a honeydew, so maybe it is subtly lifting the scent.

About an hour into the wear notes of orange blossom and jasmine join the tuberose but the three marry well and it's like a beautiful white flower pudding. The florals are amplifying nicely, as if the warmth of my skin is making them bloom. Perhaps the tuberose is still slightly dominate but it's definitely a blend. The ylang ylang and orris butter add creamy warmth to the florals and velvet softness. Durga rises and wanes in strength. Sometimes the white flowers feel tipsy and narcotic. Other times they calm and the ylang ylang scent of powder creaminess takes charge. Occasionally, though, the dry scent of the chrysanthemum cuts through the florals, grounding their sweetness and certainly bringing Durga into unisex perfume territory.

If you will allow me to wax poetic using my very limited knowledge of the complexities of the Hindu religion, one could say that this yin and yang between the sweet heady florals and the more stern earthy chrysanthemum is just another way to illustrate Durga, the goddess of divine power and energy, but also a warrior goddess sometime pictured riding atop a lion. She is a multi-dimensional goddess with many faces, including beauty and knowledge. But the word durga means fortress and Durga can also be a fierce warrior when battling evil, which is her main purpose. I like to think that the florals in Durga represent the sweet and beautiful side of the goddess, more as she is pictured in the top photo. But the earthy chrysanthemum that cuts through the prettiness is a reminder that Durga can be ferocious when riled.

Durga is a compelling perfume with a story to tell if you want, or just enjoy it for a beautiful white floral perfume with a secret hidden in its depths.





Youtube video from https://dhyaanguru.com/. Top photo google image. Purfume sample was my own, purchased from Twisted Lily.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Indonesia Day 2: The Hindu Site of Prambanan with Kerala Ashok Garden and Hindu Honeysuckle


After seeing the Buddhist temple  Borobudur at the beginning of our Indonesian getaway, the next day my husband and I went a few miles away to visit the ancient Hindu site of Prambanan, also located near Yogyakarta. This temple complex was built as the Hindu religion moved into Java, overtaking and forcing out the practice of Buddhism. It is a large complex with three major temples dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer. There are hundreds of smaller temples in the surrounding park, many reduced to rubble as this area is home to earthquakes as well as volcanic eruptions.

Prambahan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today but for centuries it lay in ruins, virtually destroyed by an earthquake in the 16th century. The Dutch partially rebuilt it in the 1800s and more recently it was damaged in a 2006 earthquake. Today it is still an awe inspiring sight and during the six months of the dry season the Ramayana ballet is performed in front of the temples in an outdoor setting. The Ramayana is an ancient epic story of the divine Hindu prince Rama's struggle to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king. In ancient Javanese court the verses were set to dance. I had carefully planned our timing to be well into dry season and this is what I hoped to see:


We were seated, I was waiting with anticipation, then the heavens opened up and we were soaked with rain. The whole affair got moved inside, and while it was still a stunning performance it just wasn't as evocative as it should have been in front of the trio of lighted temples.

I may have been in Java, but I was seeing a Hindu play at a Hindu temple so I chose to wear perfumes that reminded me of India, one during the day and the other during the night performance. Yes, I am that crazy serious about matching my perfumes with experiences. I wore Lisa Hoffman's Kerala Ashok Garden first. I have owned the convenient 15 ml travel size of this perfume for some time but it had gotten lost in the depths of my drawer full of perfume decants and samples and I hadn't sprayed it in ages. I was blown away by its beautiful and realistic jasmine scent. The copy at the Lisa Hoffman (Dustin's wife) website talks about a mixture of florals with ripe sweet fruits, and also mentions the sacred Kerala ashok bloom, but nah! This is straight up beautiful jasmine and evidently the fine folks at Fragrantica agree with me. Click the link and on the left are the perfumer's notes: apricot, pear, green apple, violet, jasmine, amber, musk, and so on. On the right where people like you and I say what we smell there is only one note, jasmine. And that's perfectly okay when it's a beautiful jasmine like this one.

The initial burst of jasmine is joyful and ebullient. It smells very realistic as if you've passed through a grove of jasmine bushes at dusk when their scent is radiating out most strongly. This is a green effervescent jasmine; no indolic scent or skank to be found. The floral is sweet and dances on the edge of being indolent but never quite goes there. Kerala Ashok Garden portrays all the best aspects of jasmine; a swoony floral, bright and effervescent, uplifting. It is a mood altering jasmine. Jasmine is used in aromatherapy as mood lifter and is said to bring joy and happiness. That is the feeling I get with Kerala Ashok, it makes me feel joyful and I believe this is because it smells so much like the real scent of the flowers.

It doesn't change much over the hours of wear but that's not a negative for me because I love it. It is also very reasonably priced. Ms. Hoffman sells off her own website as well as other sites like Dermstore.com. She also sells fragrance jewelry where scented beads are worn inside lockets on bracelets or necklaces. Now that I have reminded myself how much I like this I'll be reaching for it often this summer.

Hindu Honeysuckle by Providence Perfume Company  is a very different sort of scent from Kerala Ashok Garden. Whereas the Kerala Ashok Garden is green and floaty, Hindu Honeysuckle is a deeper, duskier perfume.  I've seen some people review it as a very realistic honeysuckle but to me it is an abstract version of that flower. Some reviewers talk about the radiant jasmine note but I'm not getting that. I've had my bottle for a few years and it is a natural perfume so possibly could have lost some of the notes but this is pretty much how I remember it. The floral is muddled and honeyed. Evidently is is difficult and extremely expensive to attain pure honeysuckle oil so perfumers use other notes to replicate the scent. Charna Ethier, perfumer and owner at Providence Perfumes, used jasmine, rose, and bergamot among other notes to give a honeysuckle accord.  There is a very honeyed floral at first spray but there is also a piquant note that gives it the slightly Eastern vibe. There is a coriander note which may provide this tang, but I can really smell the ambrette. If you've ever smelled Red Flower Ambrette, the note is similar. This perfume wears quietly and longevity is about three hours. I enjoy the far east spin on a common floral.

Top photo www.timetravelturtle.com. Ramayana photo: www.safira'sjourney.com. Perfumes my own.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Day in Borobudur with Monsillage Pays Dogon


Am I the only one that plans what perfumes I will take on a trip, trying to calculate which ones will compliment the location and mood of the place? A perfume that maybe with luck will be a reminder of a great trip every time I catch its scent? My husband and I had planned a trip to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in October of 2010 to see the archeological sites of Borobudur and Prambanan, and to golf at a course near the base of Mt. Merapi, Indonesia's most active volcano. The day we were to leave Merapi exploded, covering the sites in volcanic ash and leaving the golf course decimated by the power of the explosion. Our trip was canceled of course and it has taken us seven years to reschedule .

The first stop was to be the world's largest Buddhist temple, Borobudur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 9th century. It was abandoned in the 14th century as the Islamic religion began to spread throughout Indonesia. This is the most visited site in Indonesia and still used as a pilgrimage for Buddhists on Vesak Day in May. Borobudur has nine stacked platforms decorated with stone carved relief  panels and decorated with 504 Buddha statues. The Buddhas at the upper levels sit inside perforated stupas, or bell-like stone structures.

I came up blank as to what scent might evoke this place and ended up deciding to take a new sample I had by Monsillage called Pays Dogon. The perfumer Isabelle Michaud was invoking a travel memory from Africa and numerous bloggers have described this place. For my purpose, I saw that it contained some notes indigenous to Indonesia such as Javanese vetiver, patchouli, and ginger so into the suitcase it went.

Vetiver is considered a holy herb and is referenced in the Hindu's sacred book, the Bhagavad Gita, by Lord Krishna. Krishna says, "I am the fragrance of the soil." The vetiver grass can have an aromatic woody smell  with aspects of sweet and earthy character. It is considered a reviving oil in ayurvedic practice and used to calm the mind, in India being referred to as "the oil of tranquility". So, I theorized, at this sacred site perhaps vetiver was as good a choice as any.

The Javanese vetiver used in Monsillage Pays Dogon is particularly aromatic and fragrant. One can sense the greeness of the vetiver grass as well as the earthiness of its dense roots. There is a hint of ginger which gives it a spicy lilt. Black and pink pepper notes add a touch of heat. Cypriol oil amplifies the woody, earthy effect of the vetiver. Cyriol oil is a relative of papyrus and perhaps its use in Pays Dogon adds to the overall arid dryness of the scent. Red hibiscus is also listed as a component of the perfume but I confess that I can't pick the note out. Later the scents of sandalwood, guaiac wood, and patchouli join with the vetiver, adding more elements of wood and earth to the scent. Pays Dogon wears close to the skin and as I sniff my arm it does provide a rather therapeutic zen feeling of well being. This is a scent that could be worn by either sex although it veers more strongly to the masculine side of the scale.


So did I find my perfect perfume for experiencing Borobudur? Not exactly. Here's what I experienced. Walking in the darkness lit only by a pale crescent moon we made our way towards the dark pyramid shape of Borobudur. Suddenly my nose was hit with the freshest, strongest jasmine. We were obviously passing some bushes but the white petals were invisible in the darkness. It was like an olafactory anoitment and blessing for the experience awaiting us and served to build my anticipation. The thin beam of our flashlight guided us up the long straight stairways to the top of the momument where we awaited the dawn's light. Seeing the stupas and Budda's in the gradually dawning blue light was a beautiful experience. Once the sun was up the things I saw that would have contributed to my personal fragrance were the old stones with ribbons of moss in the crevices, verdant green fields surrounding the historic site, and the still active volcano, Mt. Merapi, shrouded in the morning clouds.

None of this takes away from the fact that Monsillage Pays Dogon is a lovely vetiver. If you haven't tried vetiver perfumes this would be a good one to start with. I think you'll like the cooling and reviving aspect that the vetiver aroma gifts you with. Maybe I need to add a trip to Africa's Pays Dogon region (a place I had never heard of!) to my travel bucket list and experience Ms. Michaud's vision there. Meanwhile, I think you would particularly enjoy this scent in the hot summer to give the sense of cool and calm in the face of  the heat of the day.

Photos my own. Sample purchased by me from Twisted Lily.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Guerlain Joyeuse Tubereuse


Guerlain recently introduced a new addition to their L'Art et la Matiere line of fragrances, Joyeuse Tubereuse.  Guerlain describes the scent as "a freshly picked tuberose" and indeed, the initial opening has a burst of green as if from the broken stem that had been holding the flower a moment before being plucked. This green opening is fresh and creamy and reminds me a little of the opening in Jour d'Hermes. This only lasts a short time and the tuberose enters.

This tuberose is limpid and dewy. Perfumers Thierry Wasser and Delphine Jelk used a light touch with a note that has a reputation for scaring people away. The perfume displays the creamy aspects of tuberose but none of the indolic, skank, or camphorous notes. Like a tomcat that's gone under the knife, this tuberose is tamed and subdued of aggressiveness without losing any of the prettiness of the floral.  Notes of lily and sambac jasmine join the tuberose. Normally I find that jasmine will dominate on my skin but it stayed in the background; it was the lily I smelled. The lily and  tuberose make a very pretty combination, with the tuberose dominating.

It is around the time that the lily becomes obvious that I also began to smell vanilla. As with the tuberose, the vanilla's touch is light. It serves to slightly sweeten the perfume. I'm imagining tuberose and vanilla flavored marshmellows. The vanilla is not really gourmand but just adds a nice softness to the tuberose. At this point the perfume reminds me a little of Memo Marfa which also has vanilla and tuberose. Joyeuse Tubereuse continues for several hours with this fluffy tuberose and vanilla combo but eventually very gentle base notes of sandalwood and vetiver become present as the tuberose fades. These two notes are particularly quiet on my skin.

This perfume lasted all day but the sillage was slight. I think this would be a great perfume for those who have shied away from tuberose perfumes like Malle's Carnal Flower or Piguet's Fracas because the tuberose is too strong. This perfume is considered unisex and I realize my description may not make it sound that way but if you're a man that loves white flowers I think you would enjoy this one.  Joyeuse Tubereuse is a very nice perfume and I would happily wear it but I tend to like the tuberose perfumes that announce their presence so for now I will admire from afar.

Photo from Guerlain. Sample from Essentials Tangs Singapore.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Zoologist Perfumes Part Six: Civet


Back in January I reviewed the entire Zoologist Perfumes line. I was curious about the concept, and the cute Edwardian style drawings adorning each bottle are one of the most creative and cohesive product branding efforts I've seen in a long time. Of course the big question was, how would the perfumes smell? I went in with the expectation that somehow the animals themselves would be evoked in the scents, and how would that work? But what I found was the perfumers sought to represent the environment that the animals lived in.  Do you remember terrariums, those sealed glass containers that held mini worlds inside their glass domes, creating their own environment? These perfumes strike me as similar. They are a snapshot of a particular animal's world, sometimes in minute detail such as the surrounding plant life, what they might eat, and what smells they would encounter in their day to day life.

So why when I saw the name Civet did I think Shelley Waddington, doing her second perfume for the Zoologist line and owner/creator of EnVoyage Perfumes, would go for the obvious, a strong civet- based perfume? Of course I was wrong. So follow Ms. Waddington as she leads us into the jungle.

Let me backtrack for a minute. Living in Indonesia and Singapore, Bali was a frequent vacation spot. I got to know the island pretty well, eventually leaving the sandy shores and ocean waves to venture further inland to experience the culture and lifestyle of the Balinese people.  It doesn't take long to get away from the tourist hubbub and find the real Bali. Terraced rice fields of an impossibly vibrant green; gracefully dressed villagers celebrating a wedding, death, or special holy day; women balancing a basket of fruit on their head, walking towards the temple to leave an offering. And once you get into the hills or near one of the island's volcanoes, this sign is a frequent sight.


Kopi Luwak, Let me cut to the chase: civet cats eat coffee beans, they pass through their digestive tract where the beans are fermented but not digested, and they eventually exit the body looking something like a Payday candy bar. The feces is collected and turned into world's most expensive coffee. Strange but true. All very good and ecologically sound on the surface. The problem is that when local farmers throughout Indonesia found there was a market for civet poop they started caging the civet cats which they call luwak and feeding them exclusively coffee berries. As there is no sure fire way to know if your kopi luwak coffee has been naturally gathered or farmed it is best avoided so as to put an end to this practice.

Zoologist Perfumes Civet references happy little creatures roaming free as nature intended, crawling along the dank and moist jungle floor through the flowers and foliage, foraging off coffee berries and other plant life. Ms. Waddington and Victor Wong, founder of Zoologist Perfumes,  have captured this concept in Civet.

The perfume's opening is an opulent kaleidoscope swash of scent. Notes represented are bergamot, lemon, and orange, along with black pepper, tarragon and various spices. Reading this you would expect a strong citrus opening but in fact the spices are the star.  The citrus gives a bright warmth but is not otherwise distinctive.  I have no idea what Ms Waddington's inclusion of the spices was meant to represent, but as civets are found in Indonesia, a country which was the epicenter of the Dutch spice trade, I would like to think it's a nod to the history of the place and the crops still farmed there today.  In the higher elevations of Bali one can be wrapped in this scent of lush verdancy. I am sure it is the same in any rainforest or jungle setting. That is the initial feel I get from this perfume.

In Hummingbird, Ms. Waddington used a basketful of scent notes to create a floral nectar perfume. Here in Civet there are also many florals: carnation, frangipani, heliotrope, hyacinth, linden blossom, tuberose and ylang ylang. These join together to give the impression of a tropical setting of riotous florals, humid green plants, and a forest bed of decaying plant life enriching the soil below. This is an accurate portrayal of the actual surrounds civets would roam. I can pick out the creamy richness of the tuberose and also ylang ylang, which to my nose is has a luxuriant tropical floral smell and veers slightly powdery on my skin. The carnation is also discernible in it's more spicy form. These florals join with the spices and an emerging coffee note to make a rich brew. There is a French feel to the perfume at this point, but it is untamed and a bit wild.

There is, of course,  a civet note and this gives the perfume a vintage feel. (Synthetic civet is used). The animal musk in Civet eventually becomes more pronounced as the floral notes begin to diminish, but now the civet is encased in warm cozy labdanum and notes of vanilla. It is not sweet or gourmand, rather spicy and warming. The flowers are subdued but still quietly exist in the background. Balsamic resins and woods round out a soft fade out for this perfume after several hours of wear. It is extremely long lasting on my skin. This perfume has gone through so many transformations: a bright spicy opening, humid florals with mossy green foliage, and finally a warm spicy and resinous finish.

I am familiar with Hummingbird as well as several of  Ms. Waddington's creations for her own line. If I am presumptuous enough to judge a perfumer by her work then I would say Ms Waddington lives large and is not afraid to place bold colorful stripes on the canvas of life, or in her perfumes. Her scented fingerprints are bold and assured. The perfume Civet is no different. This riotous mixture of so many diverse notes could have been a hot mess, but instead it references a time when civet and other animal notes were common in French perfumes but updates the genre with tropical notes to give a new and unique spin. Civet is another winning addition to the Zoologist line and I can't wait to see what Mr. Wong dreams up next.

To see my other Zoologist reviews you can start here.

Top photo from www..ZoologistPerfumes.com. Perfume sample of Civet provided to me by Zoologist Perfumes.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Foxy by DSH Perfumes


Foxy is one of the newest scents by the amazingly prolific Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes. Dawn says she was inspired by the movie version of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox which she watched with her young son during the cold winter months of a Boulder, Colorado winter. I am not familiar with this story but evidently various note components were drawn from the everyday life of Mr. Fox.

The perfume's opening features an apple whiskey note referencing the favoured drink of the story's Farmer Bean. This note is round, rich and fruity. It is joined by a gingersnap note, reminiscent of Mrs. Bean's "famous apple gingersnap". I could swear I smell a cinnamon note but perhaps this is just a part of the whiskey/gingersnap mix as it is not listed. Amber and ambergris are the dominate notes and miraculously the combination of these two does make one picture a rusty red color such as the fur on a fox.

I am a big fan of DSH's other "fur" scent, Chinchilla, which I described as "a slightly animalic musk with faint wisps of crushed flower petals and thick golden honey". For me Chinchilla is cozy and the animal note very tame, so I wondered, would she "go there" with Foxy? I put my wrist to my nose and inhale deeply and the answer is yes, DSH did include "go there"! There is a faint but undeniable feral aspect to this perfume not present in Chinchilla. Don't worry, it doesn't overwhelm and you have to be really looking for it. I am assuming this was in part created by the use of two different kinds of jasmine, as well as castoreum, costus, sable fur accord and fossilized amber resin. In addition to conjuring the red fur of the creature DSH has created a fox we can imagine in a wild habitat, a little less cleanly washed than the Chinchilla perfumed creation. This is an aspect of vintage perfume that is often missing in the modern perfumes of today, and DSH is an expert at referencing this era and those notes.

Despite what I've said about the animalistic notes, after it's opening Foxy settles into a warm amber perfume with contained sillage but rather excellent longevity. This is a vintage vibe perfume that is not too overpowering for those afraid of this genre.  And as a credit to Dawn's artistry, I can indeed picture a cute red fox when I'm wearing this perfume!

Stella McCartney with  Callie, a tame fox, wearing faux fur in Vogue February 2017.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Foolproof Perfume Picks for Mother's Day

For those of us who love perfume the next best thing to buying perfumes for ourselves is buying it for someone else, so Mother's Day provides the perfect shopping opportunity. Yet all too often gifted bottles languish on the shelf unused. Some moms are easy. They have a signature scent you can replenish each year. But if you've no idea what your Mom might like but really want to share your love of scent with her, here is a semi-serious guide of what to buy your Mom depending on her likes and style. The secret in each case is to buy a fairly transparent scent that doesn't make too much of a statement, so that the odds of Mom liking it increase exponentially. 

The Classic Mom

Jackie Kennedy with her children.
The classic Mom is polished and cool. She probably set dinner tables with sterling silver cutlery and crystal dishes if she could afford it. Her manner of dress is polished, neatly styled and always totally appropriate. She made sure you visited the occasional museum in addition to Saturday matinees. Manners and respect were important in your household growing up. She gravitates toward old style classics so for her Chanel No 5 L'Eau is the perfect pick. The beautiful fizzy opening is still there but without the sharp astringency of the original. It's a lighter fresher take on the original but maintains the beautiful heart of rose and jasmine and still exudes that timeless elegance.

The Sporty Mom

Candace Parker, basketball player, Olympian.

Maybe your Mom plays tennis or golf. Maybe she's a runner or surfer. Maybe yoga is her thing, but whatever sport it is, it's a huge part of who she is. For sporty Moms I'm going to suggest something I just reviewed, MFK Aqua Celesia. This scent won't distract them from their game; it's very quiet. It's almost a skin scent but it has some tart notes of lime, mint and blackcurrant to keep it fresh.  I have a totally unproven theory that musk scents, which Aqua Celesia is, smell better and more personal when mixed with a little of your sweat. If so, then it's perfect for the active mom who glows with exertion. Regardless, it's a beautiful scent to keep her feeling fresh no matter what.

The Do-Gooder Mom

Angelina Jolie , actor and humanitarian, with her brood.

Your Mom is the first one with her hand up. School PTA president, check. Girl Scout leader, check. Local women's shelter volunteer, check. She's a rebel with a cause and the only thing that makes her happier than working is working for change. So how perfect that by wearing a perfume she can contribute in a small way to the welfare of farmers in war torn countries or one's recovering from strife. Fair trade essential oils are sourced from places like Afghanistan and Rwanda. The company behind these good deeds? The 7 Virtues. You could pick the original scent, Afghanistan Orange Blossom with uplifting notes of orange blossom, jasmine, and freesia. Farmers who used to grow poppies for the drug industry now can make more by farming neroli oil. You can also pick from Noble Rose of  Afghanistan, Middle East Peace, Patchouli of Rwanda, Vetiver of Haiti, Middle East Peace, and the new Lisa Ray Jasmine of India. The florals are realistic and pretty but these wear close to the skin. The fragrances can be ordered from the website and are also available at Lord & Taylor in the USA.

The Hip Mom

Kate Hudson, actress, fitness clothing entrepreneur.

All your friends think your Mom is cool, whether she's 40 or 80. Her manner of dress is maybe more youthful or edgy than other Moms but she always looks fabulous. She keeps up with current trends but is not afraid to follow her own style. She's open minded, embraces life,  and loves to have fun, especially with you. This Mom is not afraid to try something a little different with a slight edge. The trick is to buy something with that unique feel, but not something too extreme or out there. I have the perfect answer. It's Dame Perfumery Mate, Heliotrope & Patchouli. This perfume opens with a light mate tea note. The heliotrope gives a slight sweet touch and the patchouli is green and clean. It's my favorite "your skin but better scent". Click on the link above to read my full review. This one's a beauty.

The Trendy Mom

Victoria Beckham and brood.
Your Mom is always on point with trends. She may think she's too old to wear some of the latest style interpretations but you can be sure she knows about them. She is au courant about the latest movies, politics of the day, and the Pantone color of the year. She loves the latest thing and that's why the newest Jo Malone perfume may be the perfect gift for her. Every season Jo Malone is coming out with limited editions and new scents. The most recent release is Jo Malone Star Magnolia. Like most of Jo Malone's recent introductions, on my skin it's pretty, light, and fairly fleeting. Star Magnolia opens with a lemon and ginger note, then rapidly transitions to the magnolia and neroli. Both notes are light and come across as a white clean fragrance. While I don't love it, it's hard to imagine anyone taking offense to it. Even more interesting are the seasonal limited edition sets. They are always an interesting concept: last year it was the Herb Garden collection and this spring it is the five scents in the Bloomsbury Set. I haven't smelled any of them but I have no doubt they are charming and will fade away within an hour. Nevertheless I still can't help but be intrigued and would love it if someone gave them to me.

The Foodie Mom

Giada De Laurentiis, celebrity chef
Everyone wanted to hang out at your house because they knew there would be great food. Whether it was nourishing dinners or homemade snacks, your Mom likes to show her love through food. Her favorite program may be The Great British Baking Show. She knows the newest restaurant in town getting rave reviews and would rather walk through Williams & Sonoma than Barneys. Here are a few light and intriguing flavorful scents. Berdoues Grand Cru Vanira Moorea is a cologne strength vanilla and orange creamsicle; droolingly yummy but not too sweet. By the same company but totally different is Berdoues Grand Cru Assam of India. Pungent black Assam tea, sharp lemon, and a to-die-for bottle with colorful mini elephants make this a distinctive winner. Prada Infusion d'Amande has a creamy but transparent almond note that will have Mom sniffing her wrist non-stop.

The Traditional Mom

Florence Henderson as Carol Brady in the iconic tv show, The Brady Bunch.

Your Mom considered her primary job to be raising you and your siblings, despite everything else she might have had going on. She wants nothing but the best for you; your achievements are her successes. She loves you to bits and nothing makes her day more than hearing from you. For your special mom, treat her to the newly reintroduced Prada Les Infusions Rose. Like all the scents in Prada's Les Infusions line, it has a watercolor transparency. It is a pale pink rose scent, sprinkled with notes of mandarin, neroli, and galbanum. Sparkling and translucent, it's the perfect rose for the rose in your life.

I hope you've enjoyed my Mother's Day picks and found something worth considering.