"I was steeled for disappointment" turns to nuzzling..nice!

In the past month, since the launch of my line of Anya's Garden Perfumes, many samples have made their way around the world. UPDATE: even though I am not going to purchase the huge lot of bottles that are planned for the line, (because I'm moving half way across the country), due to popular demand - and impatient perfumistas who want some juice *now* - I have a small lot of some bottles on their way to me this week. They're not the *real* bottles, since I need to order them by the 1000s, but they'll make due in this pinch. Email me privately if you're interested in full bottles of any of the perfumes you've sampled.

So the samples are making the rounds, and various reviews are coming in. One from a perfumer, Andy Tauer, one from a perfumer-in-training and Guild member, Lucy of Indie Perfumes, and now one from a perfumista on a forum I frequent. They've all reviewed Pan, attracted by the fact, I suppose that I am the first perfumer to incorporate tinctured goat hair into a perfume. It's got a big buzz factor, and requires an open mind and trained nose to critique. You can look in the archives here to read about the genesis of Pan. Well, Bitter Grace, the perfumista, didn't want to sugar coat her review -- she was "steeled for disappointment". Whew! Those perfumistas are tough, and they know their notes, and the structure, and the evolution of a perfume...they know their juice.

I need to add here: I'm self-taught. Years and years of reading, experimenting, comparing and contrasting in the Carles method. About 95% of natural perfumers are self-taught, using all sorts of different methods. Natural Perfumery is just starting to tickle the consciousness of the general public, and delight their noses. It is an amazing breakthrough that so many "unschooled" perfumers are succeeding. We're breaking down the "old boy" network and mindset that has perfumers-in-training brainwashed and walking lockstep through "the system." A friend who manages a high-end boutique here in Miami took a bunch of big testers, put them on the counter, unlabeled, and waited to see the reaction. Fantastic! The jet-setting, 5-star-hotel-staying customers on South Beach are clamoring for my perfumes. They're on a waiting list.

I want to encourage anyone interested in perfumery, whether natural or using synths, to follow their dream. I'll blog in the future about recommended books, strategies and mentors. In the meantime, please enjoy these reviews, live vicariously through the perceptions of the authors, and thank you for visiting my blog, where I can giggle and muse and play and enjoy talking about natural, botanical perfumes.

Here's Bitter Grace's review, followed by Lucy's, then Andy's. You can visit Lucy and Andy on their blogs via my blogroll.

I was steeled for disappointment as I prepared to take my first sniff of Pan. Anya’s description of it as a rustic, sweet, herbal scent--with a goat hair note, no less (I love goats)—sounded too good to be true. My perfumista profile leans heavily to classic florals, but there’s a tomboy inside me who longs for the perfect nature scent, a scent that will give me the feeling I get walking through a pasture or on a country lane. I’ve never found one that really did the trick. Until now.

Pan opens with what can only be described as a blast of cedar. It’s so powerful it has an almost medicinal character. This was unsettling, because as much as I like the smell of cedar, my skin tends to amplify it to the point that it overwhelms all other notes. At least, that has been my experience with cedar-rich florals like Cabaret and Light Blue. But Pan is different. Its cedar begins to mellow almost immediately, and smoothly gives way to the clean, dry notes of hay and lavender, with a wonderful herbal sweetness that makes you think of rolling in a meadow on a sunny summer day. I think this is my favorite stage of the scent, and it lingers a good while before allowing a gentle patchouli note to emerge. At the risk of offending Anya, I have to say that this patchouli note reminds me (in the best possible way) of a drugstore oldie, Jovan’s Fresh Patchouli. Not heavy or head-shop-y, it's like a damp day in late spring—warm, earthy, comforting, somehow light and rich at the same time. The beeswax and white lotus Anya lists among the notes made only a very subtle appearance on my skin, just enough to provide a smooth, sweet background for the cedar-to-patchouli progression.

The animalic notes of musk seed and, yes, goat hair, show themselves in the late dry down, mingling with the herbal and woody notes to balance this little picture of nature—what’s flora without fauna, after all? They don’t provide a funky punch, just a gentle hint of critter. The source may be a stinky billy goat, but the final effect is like cuddling a young kid (a goat kid, that is). It’s sensual in the most innocent way.

Anya calls this scent “masculine,” and it is, but, girly girl that I am, I would not feel at all uncomfortable wearing it, especially once the cedar top has settled down. If fact, I’d say this is one that, applied with a light hand, you could get away with wearing to the office. It sticks pretty close to the skin, and has none of that nose hair-singing quality found in many green scents.

The spousal verdict, by the way, is a BIG thumbs-up. I had him sniff after I’d been wearing Pan for a few hours, to test lasting power. Yes, he could smell it, and yes, it smelled good. In fact, he actually followed me back to my office so he could sniff again and nuzzle my neck. I call that a winner.

I've been wearing my samp for almost 8 hours now, and I can only say that I have liked it better and better with wearing. I was driving along with the sun warming my arm, and the scent bloomed so nicely.

Lucy of Indie Perfumes review:

This handmade fragrance, redolent of goat hair charged with aromatic herbs, cedar, beeswax and musk seed, lavender and hay, with white lotus to really bring it on home, is wild with intense uplift and appealing strength. It's like standing by an animal wreathed with flowers, warmed by a bonfire of freshly sawn fragrant wood and hay. It brings to my mind a phrase from "The Fugitive Kind" as spoken by Joanne Woodward's character (a super-pale blond bad girl who scares everyone with both her fast driving and her sex drive) when she first sees a young Marlon Brando in his signature snakeskin jacket: "There's STILL something WILD in this country".

I think maybe the humid and tropical Florida air and the overgrown lushness thereall influenced the quality of Nature in this fragrance. It's perfect for driving fast at night in the summer, in a convertible with the top down, going juking, as they say, or even just thinking about it...

Andy Tauer's review:

It looks as if the perfumes get better, the simpler the ingredients list is: I have a sample under my nose, and a smile on my face, going all the way up to my ears. The description of this sample simply says: “Agresic, sweet, herbal, woody - Goat hair, cedar, Seville lavender, hay, patchouli, beeswax, musk, white lotus. ” It is an all natural perfume {}.. you will find here: Love.

It is the love for scents and natural ingredients that you can feel. It is the care of composing and the passion for fragrances. I have the paper strip under my nose and think of … wow. What a sexy scent. A brave perfumer to make such a scent. For sure not the average blabla fragrance. A scent that will shock a few, for sure, others will go with it on a journey to new land and will make exciting discoveries. I find a slightly green blend, with lots of Patchouli, blended in a way that brings out the best of patchouli… this animalic, soft powder, that so often hides behind mountains of wood. Top quality patchouli, too! And the fragrance is musky, for sure, but I have no clue how this effect was reached.

Maybe it is Angelica Seeds or Abdelmoschus seeds. Or is it the goat hair. I have no clue, but who cares. There is an earthyness going with it that reminds me of oakmoss. It is an animalic (of course!) musk blended into a soft base, with hints of floral woods, never really sweet. As always with good blends, the individual notes merge into something new. What I like most about this scent on my paper strip: It is unlike many things I have sniffed lately. It is original. You can feel the creative hand aiming at creating something new.


  1. I really look forward to reading your posts on how you got into making perfumes.

  2. Anya, have finally tried all 3. You were right, Fairchild is probably my favorite, but I say probably because I really like Riverside too, and there is something very compelling about the combination of beeswax & dirt. I need to revisit both scents. Pan, as I told you, just won't work for me -- lavender is not my friend, although the animalic note is, as you say, very soft, and a woman who liked lavender could certainly wear it.

    Anyway: kudos on all three!

  3. Hi Jennifer....that will come soon, maybe interwoven with writings on doppelganger accords that I *didn't* create, but which have inspired me.

  4. R,
    Fairchild is absolutely gorgeous in the drydown on a wrist. I spray the tops of my wrist, to make it easier to sniff and sniff and sniff.

    Beeswax...dirt...goat hair...gotta admit I'm gutsy in my choices!

    And have you noticed how long they last -- something naturals are not well-known for? I really worked on that aspect, using every trick in the book.

  5. Yes, Anya, I also will be very interested in reading about your journey through a life of perfume making...

  6. My comments seemed to be gobbled up...oh well..[second try!]

    How lovely to be reviewed so positively by colleagues- kudos to you, Anya !

    As a fellow goat lover, Pan sounds delightful to my ears, and no doubt will please my nose [fussy,fussy noses have we all...].

    I look forward to sampling it eagerly...

    Hope you are well and happy...

    I always enjoy your point of view.

  7. Hi Chaya
    Thank you for your kind comments and excuse my late reply -- your post somehow didn't show up in my mailbox.

    It is gratifying to get such nice supportive reviews from perfumistas, voting with their noses, lol.


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