Providence Perfume Co has fast emerged as one of my favorite indie natural brands. I don't like everything they make — Mousseline Pêche was not my cup of tea, and neither was Moss Gown, which sounded like it ought to be my cup of tea. Branch & Vine, their latest release, might as well have been tailor-made to suit my preferences, and to suit this time of year, when summer is winding down and I'd just as soon it lasted a bit (ok, much) longer.
Branch & Vine was inspired by a summer garden — "Verdant leafy greens, a tangle of tomato vine. Hints of muguet mingle with mimosa, jasmine and cooling violet leaf" — and that's just what it smells like: greenery, not too bitter and not too heavy, sweetened by a few flowers along the way.1 Fir lends some weight to the base and vetiver adds a dash of earthiness (other notes: sunflower, green bitter orange and neroli) but it's more breezy than deep.2 Without sinking into what Kevin calls the "naturopathic cough syrup or joint rub" style that sometimes characterizes natural perfumery, Branch & Vine smells alive, like the outdoors on a perfect summer day. Just for kicks, I wore it next to Chanel's lovely Bel Respiro. Bel Respiro is elegant and spare, and smells like what it is: a perfect summer day à la Chanel. Branch & Vine's garden outing is not clunky in the least, but it's not quite so aggressively manicured. It would be awfully nice to have bottles of both.
We all know that natural perfumes aren't powerhouses of longevity, but hey, neither is Bel Respiro. Summer doesn't last, more's the pity. But in this case, the natural product did a little better than the synthetic.
The quick poll: your favorite green fragrance?
Providence Perfume Co Branch & Vine is available in 30 ml Cologne Spray ($80).
1. If you want a shock of bitter green (tomato leaf!), try the fabulous Memory of Kindness by CB I Hate Perfume, or hunt down some vintage Vent Vert, or the maybe-even-harder-to-find Gobin Daudé Sous Le Buis. For a really vibrant but not bitter green, try Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Shiso.
2. For a fall-weight green, try the also-fabulous Verdant by Tauer Perfumes.