Saturday, October 1, 2011

Brave New Scents: Carmine by Christi Meshell (House of Matriarch)

I'm happy to be participating in the Brave New Scents project as it enabled me to learn more about the ingredients used in perfumery regardless of whether they were new - which is what this project is all about. The perfume notes that became available to perfumers after the year 2000.
They were all allowed one "wild card" note - a note that was in wide circulation before the turn of 21st century.

I have to say they all made very good use of both the brave new ingredients and their "wild cards".
Let me tell you about it. :)


Notes: Hiba, Kewra, Tagetes, black pepper, Michelia alba, Michelia champaca, Davana, patchouli, vetiver, tonka, oakmoss; white copal tincture, bruizinho tincture, tobacco tincture, Chai massala tincture, Africa stone tincture, celestial amber tincture, sandalwood

Where to start?
Here is what Christi has to say about Carmine:
"A brave new perfume created in an ancient tradition, Carmine returns the wearer to a basic truth:
Nature is the Ultimate Luxury.
A formula of natural ingredients too obscure and costly for use in mass produced perfumes, Carmine offers something strange and unique to the perfume connoiseur."

And I concurr. I've had such lovely time getting to know this perfume.
But now that the time has come to talk about it, the first thing to come to my mind is that I'm seduced by it. It taught me about the natural ingredients I didn't know the smell of, we were together on a path of learning and now I'm at its mercy.

Carmine reeled me in with its easy to love fruity jungle opening. The fruitiness is hidden among the vintagey oakmoss and the green vine vibe, so that the fruity sweetness can only be glimpsed amidst all this.
There is no point in describing the notes because they all come together to transport you to a place you've never been before.

Although learning what hiba, kewdra and davana smell like certainly helped in making this strange place become more comforting to me.

And then you go deeper in, where the light is no longer as penetrating as it was in the beginning and the patchouli/oakmoss/sandalwood bed beckons you to rest in it. Seduction was never easier because once you hear the call, you will lie down, smile and let yourself enjoy the seduction Carmine wrought on you.
You also won't be getting up any time soon. ;)

If you want to enjoy the strange seduction Carmine will make you experience, please comment as Christi was very generous and is offering a full 4 oz collectable crystal bottle with ground glass stopper and silver flip top (extremely expensive!).

Please visit other participating blogs for other brave scents and a chance to try them:

Perfume Shrine

Ca Fleure Bon

Feminine Things

Perfume Critic

The Examiner

And here is the list of participating perfumers:

Lord's Jester

Perfume by Nature
Anya's Garden Perfumes
Providence Perfume Co.
House of Matriarch
Belly Flowers
a wing & a prayer perfumes
JoAnne Bassett
One Seed Perfume
Ascent Natural Perfumes

P.S. Pictures by and Anya McCoy (the logo for the project).


  1. Hi Ines,

    I do very much enjoy kewra in various forms, and I'm certainly keen to experience how it has been incorporated into Christi Meshell's "Carmine" perfume. Kewra has a very distinctive scent and I can well imagine that it was quite a feat to make it play nicely with other scents. Thanks for sharing your favourable impressions and for offering the chance to try it too.

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

  2. Ines, How could I not comment and be entered in your drawing for a perfume that uses a lot of the same materials I like to play with? I'm particularly fond of kewra and Michaelia alba.

  3. Dear Ines - thank you for your delightful review of Christi's first foray into a Guild project. Isn't she immensely talented? Every one of her perfumes delight me, and I'm so glad you'll be able to share Carmine with one of your readers.

  4. This is such a great project, and you manage to make this fragrance sound stunning, although I have absolutely no idea what either hiba, kewdra or davana smell like, which is quite a feat.

  5. I'd LOVE to try this one. I'm just beginning to explore natural perfumery and this one sounds lovely :)

  6. I'd love to try some. Here's some materials I've never heard of, so I'd be immensely interested in finding out how they translate into perfume.

    Thanks for incredible generosity!

  7. Hi Anna, this was my first kewra perfume and I had much fun figuring out from descriptions which of the notes was contributing what to the perfume.
    I do think you would enjoy it. :)

  8. Doc Elly, your take on the use of these notes would certainly be great to hear.
    I must say, I'm now fond of kewra myself. :)

  9. Dear Anya, thank you for having me on board. :)
    Yes, I think Christi is immensely talented and I'm jealous you got to try more of her work.

    And I couldn't agree more - someone will be very lucky in winning this. :)

  10. Dear Asali, before this, I had no idea what hiba, kewra and davana smelled like either. :) Like my developer colleagues would say, google is your friend (mine in this case).
    Hiba is a type of coniferous tree, kewra has a sweet-fruity feel and davana is the most elusive, woody and fruity, reminiscent of apricot.

  11. Flavourfanatic, I just read your review of Anya's RiverCali today so I know you're on the natural road. :)
    Hope you are lucky to try this.

  12. a.k.a. Warum, I honestly think smelling naturals is a very good way of teaching oneself the smell of different notes because they aren't changed by the synthetics in the perfume.
    They certainly helped me learn a lot. :)

  13. I am overwhelmed with joy as I read all of your lovely comments, I had not anticipated being so well received! I wish I could give the prize to each one of you. Good luck everyone!!

  14. If I could leave a bubble of my energy over here instead of a comment, I would! Thank you, Ines, for your generosity, as well as Christi! Ines, I adore your metaphor of the seductive jungle! Blissings!

  15. I would love to sample this. Many ingredients I'm not sure I would recognize the scents of (kewra, hiba). It's also a gorgeous color in that bottle!

  16. Wow! That bottle is absolutely gorgeous! But the perfume in it must be so good, according to the notes... And I agree: Nature is the ultimate luxury.

    Please, enter me in the draw! Thank you.

  17. Ines, your description makes Carmine sound fascinating. Many of the notes fall into my "favorites" category. I'd love to be included in the draw.

  18. Dear Christi, thank you once more for your generosity! :)
    You will make someone very happy.

  19. Thank you Jolene! :)
    Your energy and comment are highly appreciated.

  20. Ahsu, the color is even more beautiful in real life (not to mention it's pratically the same color of my hair). ;)
    You're in.

  21. Isa, incredible how something so simple never ocurred to me until I read Christi's note. Nature is the most luxurious thing we have and I hope we learn to appreciate and save it.

  22. Lisa BTB, Carmine opened my eyes to some new notes that are now on my favorite lists (notably hiba and kewdra).
    You're in. :)

  23. Carmine sounds potent! Would love to have the opportunity to try this one~

  24. Carmine sounds fascinating! And I always am interested to see how Davana is used, as I have read it can be very tough to work with, going ashtray-ish fast. It also is supposedly very reactive to an individual's skin. I would love a chance for the very generous draw, in the stunning bottle! Thanks!

  25. Womo, Carmine not only sounds potent but looks potent too. :)

  26. Michael, you certainly know more about Davana than I do. :)
    Now I need to test Carmine on someone else to see if it changes.

  27. I have the privilege to personally know Christi and she is a true alchemist and goddess, who imbues each of her perfumes with her own love and light. I cannot wait to smell the delicious mixture of aromas described in Carmine, so please include me in this generous drawing.

  28. I was lucky enough to sample Carmine and found it spectacular! I was quite impressed--go Christi! The flacon is as beautiful as the perfume inside.

  29. Wow! Carmine sounds great. Some of the ingredients I have never heard of. Would love to have the opportunity to try it out. Thanks for your generous offer!

  30. Donna, you're in! :)
    and you're also lucky to know Christi, I wish I had personal knowledge on how she creates her perfumes...

  31. Charna, coming from you, I consider it high praise. :)
    (completely deserving I should add) :)

  32. Aba, I'm still astounded by Christi's generosity. You're in, so good luck. :)

  33. What a lovely review and I am so delighted that Christi's Carmine was so well received. I would love to experience it.

  34. Ines, good point about the naturals!
    Kewra is an ingridient I believe I've never heard about before.

  35. Chris, just in time to participate. :)

    And Warum as well.

    1. When I hear of a magically beautiful natural perfume, I am overjoyed! It shows that nature can write poetry for those who have learned to listen. This "discovered" becauty elicits a feeling of connectedness that cannot come from the more alienated forms of beauty.

  36. Somehow my comment was published as a reply, so I just want to set the record straight and re-classify it as a "Comment." Sorry.

    1. Starscent, don't worry, I read it as a general comment. :)
      You put it so poetically and I completely agree - really good naturals connect you to the world (nature).