Everyone has the thing they obsess about. For some people, it’s The Smiths. For others, it’s electronics. For still others, it’s dry shampoo. For me, it’s fragrance. I love smell. So much that I have often said that if they made a perfume out of the smell of old books or the Pirate ride at Disneyland, I would be so happy (actually, there have been many “old book” fragrances, but none of the ones I have smelled have quite captured that musty and comforting scent of paper and ink and thousands of glorious words perfectly spaced).
Love’s Baby Soft was my entry scent. It smelled exactly like a six-year-old should smell—light and pretty and innocent. In high school, when all the girls were wearing Paris by Yves Saint Laurent, I wore Aromatics Elixir by Clinique and thought I was pretty rad. I wouldn’t date a guy who wore Chaps, but Polo made my knees weak. In college I wore Gypsy Oil made by a funky woman in my neighborhood and got a Rastafarian tattoo. For the past few years, Frédéric Malle’s Carnal Flower has been my go-to, which is strangely described on his website as “spicy and animalic” with “camphorous violence.” I just looked up “animalic,” which is a perfumer’s term for “the skanky smell of sex.” Whoa, I had no idea I smell like someone who just had a Tinder hookup! One year, as part of my birthday present, I begged Kirsten to come with me to Barney’s just so I could smell all the perfume. It was one of my favorite birthday gifts ever.
Recently, I read about a perfume company called Olivine Atelier. I was intrigued by the names of the scents: Amongst the Waves, She Belongs There, More Than the Stars. I went to the website and completely lost my mind over the beauty of the descriptions and the obvious love put into their creation by Julie, the lovely and poetic perfumer. I immediately ordered the Deluxe Perfume Oil Sample Set, which includes samples of 7 different fragrances. I really appreciate it when a perfume company offers samples. There have been so many times I wanted to try a new fragrance that isn’t available near me, and it always surprises me that companies don’t offer samples. You just can’t buy pants or perfume online without trying them first.
I was so excited when my Olivine samples came in the mail. The packaging was incredibly beautiful—a lot of thought and care was put into the presentation, which included their signature gold-tipped white feather. I couldn’t wait to smell each one. I have ordered a lot of perfume by mail, seduced by cool names or delicious-sounding descriptions, only to be disappointed. Every single one of the Olivine samples was singular and evocative. First of all, they were incredibly concentrated, which is a sign of quality ingredients. Only a small dab was necessary to smell beautiful all day long. And you know what? Amongst the Waves really DID smell like salt air, coconut oil, and tropical flowers. And, unlike other perfumes, I could detect all the different notes in the descriptions. Each scent was complex, pure, totally unique, and 100% gorgeous.
It’s thrilling to have so many new fragrances to swoon over. In addition to being some of the loveliest scents I’ve smelled, all are vegan and cruelty-free, and 5% of each purchase is donated to Every Mother Counts, a charity that works toward improving the health and well-being of girls and women worldwide. I think I’ve found a new favorite. I’d rather smell like the waves or the stars than animalic any day.
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