We had an unseasonably warm day last weekend — or maybe it actually was seasonably appropriate weather, who knows anymore? — and I suddenly didn't want to wear any of my dusky rose-and-patchouli or powdery rose-and-violet perfumes. I reached for my box of recently arrived samples and chose Raw Spirit Mystic Pearl, "a fresh floral fragrance with a salty ozonic top note" that is "inspired by the mystical island of Bali and the pristine waters of the South Seas, home to the magnificent Queen of Pearls, the Pinctada."
I happen to love pearls; the pearl is my birthstone, and I have a few favorite pieces of jewelry that incorporate pearls (both real and faux). So the name of this fragrance appealed to me, and when I checked the description I saw that it includes notes of jasmine, tiare, frangipani, coconut, cinnamon, clove and — wait for it — "the secret scent of the pearl." According to Raw Spirit,
To create the natural fragrant essence of the pearl, the Mother of Pearl that lines the inside of the pearl oyster shell is crushed and extracted. . . . Raw Spirit discovered the very subtle scent of the pearl in collaboration with their pearling partner, Atlas Pearls. Raw Spirit is the only luxury fragrance brand in the world to have created a fragrance using the scent of real pearls, adding a mysterious depth and intrigue to the fragrance.
I don't have further details and I don't claim to understand the chemistry behind this process. What does a pearl smell like? Does it actually have a scent? (My pearl earrings don't, but then again, I'm not about to crush them in order to "extract" anything.) Mystic Pearl is an oceanic floral fragrance, in any case, with a softly salty introduction and a hint of something lemony, followed by a gently spicy jasmine. The other white floral notes and the coconut stay in the background, and they're not as creamy or tropical as I'd expect. If you really want a beachy floral, you may as well stick with Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess or Guerlain Terracotta; on the other hand, Mystic Pearl is easier to pull off if you're actually spending your summer in an air-conditioned office and you have to keep your South Seas fantasies low-key.
Mystic Pearl's dry down did in fact mystify me. Two of the four times that I tried it, it just became a more subdued spicy jasmine, but the other times it ended up smelling like a blend of cherry blossom and cedar woods. I have no idea why I got different results. It's a perplexing fragrance in more ways than one, apparently. Overall, Mystic Pearl is pretty and unassuming, yet slightly unpredictable. I still prefer Desert Blush, but tastes differ; it you're a fan of clean, quiet florals, this may be a good spring-summer choice for you.
Raw Spirit Mystic Pearl is available as a 7.5 ml rollerball ($40) and 30 ml bottle ($90) Eau de Parfum. A matching Body Butter (240 ml for $45) is also offered. To purchase or to view a list of additional vendors, visit the Raw Spirit website.