Nature vs. …

The first thought I had while testing Puredistance Sheiduna was: it’s beautiful, I really like it! And the next one: Whatever I smell, it just cannot be natural…

Earlier this year Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) reviewed a couple of perfumes by Nomenclature – a project by Aedes de Venustas‘ founder Karl Bradl and an interior designer Carlos Quintero. The project showcases some aroma chemicals. I’m not sure why they felt compelled to do it: not only has it been done before (as a concept) – all of Escentric Molecules‘ perfumes, Not a Perfume by Juliette has a Gun or Tauer‘s Pentachords – but also all of the above-mentioned perfumes had a much more appealing packaging. Nevertheless, they did it, and I’ve got to try four out of five perfumes from the line recently (thank you, hajusuuri). The verdict? I thought they were rather nice, but I had to agree with Steve’s (The Scented Hound) comment on that Lucas’ post:

I have no problem with synthetics and their use. Actually, the natural perfumes for the most part aren’t to my liking. That said, I have a hard time rallying around a conceptual perfume that is marketed to look like a chemistry set. Wrap it up in a pretty bottle with a pretty name and maybe I’ll come running.

Rusty and Nomenclature perfume samples

That was exactly what I was thinking. While I usually prefer everything natural in other areas of life (I recently touched it in the topic of the clothes’ fabric), when it comes to perfumes, I’m not so sure. No, actually strike that: I am sure that “all-natural” doesn’t work for me in perfume form. So far, I came across a single all-natural perfume that I really liked: Unter den Linden from April Aromatics (I did a mini-review of it in one of my Single Note Exploration posts). Absolutely all other all-natural perfumes that I’ve tried were “OK” at best…

But back to Sheiduna. I want to clarify that my thinking about it not being natural wasn’t a criticism – I was just stating the fact. The third though that was an organic continuation of those two, with which I started this post, was: I don’t really care about that fact.

I know bloggers who take offense at brands using aroma chemicals, especially when it’s done in excess, in their opinion. I’m a wrong person to judge: Molecule 01 – a pure Iso E Super – is still one of my favorite perfumes (and I fell in love with it without even knowing what I smelled). But my opinion is: if I like what I smell, I do not care about the origin of the scent I like – as long as it is… well, original.

Angel Perfumes

While I loved (and still do) Angel (I challenge anyone to tell me, which natural ingredients made it an icon – and while you’re at it, you might also try persuading me that Marilyn Monroe was a natural blonde), I never cared for all angel-wannabes that came after. The same goes for other ingredients: once they become ubiquitous, I lose my interest. But I do not hold it against those perfumes that used them first: before something has become a cliché, at some point it must have been original and … catchy.

Amber Xtreme or not, I enjoy Sheiduna and think that it’s more beautiful than hundreds of other perfumes I’ve tried – and I’m not talking only about natural perfumes. And Puredistance’s packaging is truly exceptional. I’ll happily wear Sheiduna this winter.

Rusty and Puredistance Sheiduna

Images: my own

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24 thoughts on “Nature vs. …

  1. Hi my dear,
    I’ve seen the rave of criticism that Kafka (sigh!) served to Puredistance team once she received her sample from them and how much she disliked the perfume, stating it had so many different artificial ingredients that she could easily recognize them.

    I’m with you, as long as I like the perfume and as long as I find it interesting and as you said it “original” (in terms of creativity of course) I don’t care if my fragrance is all natural or if it contains synthetic molecules.

    I like it when some perfumers say that synthetics are great to make connections and bridges among other ingredients they used while compositing a scent.

    • Well, everybody’s entitled to their opinion, and it would have been really boring, had everyone liked the same perfumes (books, music, food, you name it).

      I’ve had those thoughts that I described before I read anything else about this perfume (I try not to read about perfumes I plan to test), so later I was amazed how differently the same thought/feeling developed – partially, that was the reason for the post.

  2. Dear U – I am honored to be quoted in your post and I do still stand by what I said. Chemistry is amazing and some of these synthetic compositions are incredible. I’m with you in that most “naturals” are not to my liking…but am still waiting for something to come along and change my mind. And my boy Rusty makes an exquisite model for Sheiduna. :)

    • I signed under each of your words in that comment back when you wrote it, so it only felt right to cite rather than to re-phrase and publish as my own.
      Rusty was sleeping minutes before I took those pictures – doesn’t it make you jealous? I don’t know about you, but I never looked that good after being awaken ;)

  3. The glorification of all things ‘natural’ makes me a bit angry, especially when it comes with that arrogant princess on the pea attitude, as if detecting aromachemicals in a perfume makes you extra knowledgeable and a real connoisseur. I liked Sheiduna and will happily wear it.

    • I’m able to identify any ingredient – artificial or not – once in a blue moon, and every time it happens I feel extremely proud of myself. So I’m a little envious of people who can smell all those notes that I do not smell even after I know that those are supposed to be in the perfume. But perfumes are so subjective… and so are the experts ;)

  4. Very well-stated, Undina. I think Sheiduna is uniquely beautiful (so much so I ended up purchasing a flask) and that everything about it, the naturals and the aroma chemicals used for the amber base, are beautifully balanced. Certainly there are perfumes where I don’t care for the unnatural amber bases (I can think of a couple Amouage perfumes in the Opus series), but in Sheiduna, the base actually softens on my skin the way one expects a perfume to after a couple hours of wear.

    Btw, I don’t know if intentional or not, but I love how you coupled photos of Rusy, looking splendid in (unnatural) sepia tones, to your post!

    • Wow, that was fast – they’ve just recently released it! Now I like it even more :)

      As to the pictures – no, I cannot claim the intent there: it’s a combination of bad lighting (I didn’t want to wait one more day to try taking pictures with a daylight) and a new phone that doesn’t properly fit into the old case (but is too tight, and I couldn’t take it off before Rusty was totally awake and would stop cooperating).

  5. I don’t think my nose will ever be sensitive enough to be able to parse out what is ‘natural’ and what isn’t. But really, there are two reasons I’m commenting: (1) I love these photos, and Rusty has to be one of the most photogenic cats on the planet, and (2) Even if the packaging isn’t to your liking, thank you for introducing me to Nomenclature perfumes — my mom is a retired chemist, and I think their sampler packet will be the perfect Christmas gift for her!

  6. There was a time when I thought all natural fragrances are superior to those that are not but I have since disavowed myself of that notion. That said, I do think that a person’s negative sensitivity to aromachemicals is real and could cause organic reactions. Some of the mostly natural perfumes I like a lot include SSS Pacific Forest, Aftelier Vanilla Smoke, Aftelier Bergamoss and Hiram Green Voyage. As to Sheiduna, I smelled it in May and want to try it again before deciding to purchase – that tangerine travel spray is calling my name, as is the gorgeous green one for Antonia :-). And that Rusty is one gorgeous cat!

    • Oh, I believe that people might have reactions to different things, and it doesn’t even matter whether it’s of physical or psychosomatic origin – it’s real to them. I’m just happy that I don’t have any negative reactions to those ingredients that I like.

      I love the latest update to Puredistance travel bottles and, as I said before, I almost wish I wouldn’t have my bottle of Antonia: the new green bottle is stunning.

  7. I cannot wait to try this perfume! So curious now.

    Also thank you for your excellent wording of your perfume preference (natural vs synthetic). “I am sure that “all-natural” doesn’t work for me in perfume form.”

    I hope more people will come to see there is really nothing to argue about in choice of perfume between the two. It is all personal choice. Haven’t we got much bigger fish to fry?

    Thanks for the review. Sheiduna going on my list.

  8. I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on perfume composition. I have no problem with scents containing aromachemicals, though I prefer them not to be showcased as such, because if you shine a light on the magic, it disappears, as the saying goes. I have a mixed track record with all natural perfumes and certainly don’t put them on a pedestal particularly, but nor do I like very ‘synthetic’ smelling scents either – or what my nose reads as such. Like Suzanne, I loved how the drydown of Sheiduna softens and that is my favourite stage. I am sure it’s going to be an important addition to the range.

    Rusty looks spectacularly handsome in these poses!

    • You’ve pinpointed it! “Shining a light on a magic” is a perfect description of what these “projects” do (as well as, probably, “blow-by-blow” reviews ;) ).

      Rusty was in a particularly good mood: I allowed him to sleep on my bed while I was finishing the post. So he wasn’t completely awake at that point.

  9. Oh…and of course there is always the interminable discussion on the subject of isn’t artificial itself a natural creation? In other words–everything that exists or is created is simply natural.

    But I’m old school–I like fragrance from plants directly–they somehow reach my heart in magical ways. Oils and perfumes come with intensities that I often have to back away from.

    Fun and interesting post–thank you. :-)
    My less than two cents worth.

  10. Pingback: Best of 2016 and Welcome 2017! – Undina's Looking Glass

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