Some rainy days inspire me to match their cloudiness with watery,wistful fragrances like Guerlain Apres L'Ondée or Frédéric Malle L'Eau d'Hiver. Other rainy days, particularly ones that fall after an especially beautiful sunny weekend in May, provoke me to counteract the forecast with something bright and euphoric. Lately I've been using a patterned magenta umbrella that cheers me slightly whenever I open it, despite the gloom and damp of the day's weather; the right fragrance can have a similar effect on my mood.
This week, my anti-gray fragrance is Sarah Horowitz Perfect Bliss, for which the perfumer Sarah Horowitz-Thran was inspired by the floral arrangements at her own wedding. The composition for Perfect Bliss includes top notes of blood orange, mango, and papaya; a middle accord of gardenia; and base notes of vanilla, patchouli, cedar, and musk.
I like Sarah Horowitz's lists of notes, because they usually reflect just what I'm smelling in the fragrances themselves without adding any elaborate fictional "notes" that leave me scratching my head. (Pink icing? sheer pear-wood? lily tears?) Perfect Bliss starts with a very juicy fruit mix that really does evoke orange, mango, and pear. It's sweet and rounded, without any sharp edges to the citrus or any of the sweaty quality that mango scents often bring to my skin. There's less gardenia in the fragrance's heart than I expected, which is fine, because I'm not usually a gardenia-wearer (although I love having the actual flowers nearby in a room). It's a subtle, creamy floral note that weaves in and out of the fruit, which has settled and darkened just a bit by now. The base, which lasts a good while on the skin, is a non-desserty vanilla mixed with smooth woods. The patchouli never seems to appear, but that's also fine: it would seem a little out-of-place in this girlish gathering of sweeter notes. By the long-term dry down, the fruity cocktail notes have entirely evaporated, leaving a quiet gourmand warmth.
Last year, in a review of two new releases from MCMC Fragrances, I expressed the wish that I could steer perfume-shoppers towards good quality fruity-floral fragrances from niche brands. Sarah Horowitz is another example of this type. Perfect Bliss, like Coconut Milk and its other companions in the line, satisfies my occasional taste for a mouth-watering fruit-and-flower scent far more than anything from Juicy Couture, Coach, or any of the other same-looking pink bottles displayed under Sephora's hot lights. It's bright and upbeat without being silly, it delivers just what it promises, and it's reasonably priced. If all that sounds good to you, you may wish to sample a few of Sarah Horowitz's fragrances.
Sarah Horowitz Perfect Bliss is available as Perfume Oil (6 ml roll-on for $40) and Eau de Parfum (15 ml for $40, 30 ml for $60). Matching body products are also offered. For purchasing information, see the listing for Sarah Horowitz under Perfume Houses.
Note: top left image is Gardenia sootepensis 2, via Wikimedia.