The Beauty of Scent, Scrutinized for Pleasure

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lilliputian Love: Esscentual Alchemy For the Love of Bees

Amanda Feeley (Absinthe Dragonfly) recently sent me some samples of her Esscentual Alchemy botanical perfumes, and I was immediately interested in the variety and inventiveness of the scents. I also noticed a lot of complexity in many of them, which is rather rare with all-natural fragrances. Some perfumers prefer to let the simple beauty of nature speak for itself, and often, it works out well for them. Amanda decided to use nature's bounty as only one building block in her scent structure, the rest is clearly artistic originality.

For the Love of Bees was one of my favorites of the bunch of fragrances I tried. It made me smile the instant I first inhaled its slightly sweet and skunky, earthy and floral aroma. The notes include five types of vanilla bean tincture, hay, broom flower, black currant, beeswax, ylang ylang, blue chamomile, honeysuckle and carrot seed.

The hay is a strong player in this composition, and I'm delighted with this particular representation of the note. It's one of my favorite notes in perfumery, and I love how it forms the heart along with the beeswax and honey aspects. I was surprised to learn that so many different tinctures of vanilla were used, because I can't really pick out vanilla on its own, it serves to help along the lovely honey accord. The drydown ushers in a very delicate tea-like effect that I attribute to the blue chamomile.

I have a huge association with bees; it was the nickname I called my cat Maggie (who passed away last year)- she was The Bee, and everybody knew it. So, to have such a beautiful fragrance called 'For the Love of Bees' seems like a fortuitous thing to me.

Being surrounded by this perfume wafting gently from every pulse point gives me a sort of giddy thrill, I feel Lilliputian, a tiny interloper in the land of giant bees, prostrating myself before them for a drop of honey before I retire to my bed of soft hay for a nap. It is truly a gift when a perfume can create such vivid imagery in the mind, it is like reading a really engrossing novel. The story of the perfume is contained within those precious drops, waiting for an audience. I feel grateful that I was able to carry on its mythology.

For the Love of Bees is available in a 10ml bottle for $75, and other sizes and samples are also available on the Esscentual Alchemy website.

[sample was sent to me for review by the perfumer]


  1. Oh I like the idea of skunky, honey, vanilla, tea-like perfume. Would I be right in thinking this isn't so much a sweet, honey smell, but a rich, darker more intense smell?

  2. You are exactly right, Liam. It's a honey-based scent without going too far into gourmand territory. The beeswax note helps this, I think. It's definitely one of the most unique fragrances I've come across. I quite like the smell of skunk, I don't know what that says about me, but the skunky facet of the scent doesn't last too long.

  3. Thank you for the lovely words! I'm so glad you enjoyed the experience, of the bees. I love bees, and I wanted to honor their hard work.

  4. Your intention came through very clearly, Amanda! I had fun reviewing this, sometimes I'm lucky enough to really get inspired by a fragrance in a fun way.

  5. Ah sounds just about right. A sweet, not gourmand perfume, with a bit of skunk thrown in there for good measure :)

    I'm not sure what that says about you liking skunk, but at least your nose is adventurous enough to like it!

  6. Sounds so, so lovely! Your words made this perfume come alive for me, I feel I know just how that smells! :)

  7. This sounds fascinating! Adding to the list of samples to try, which is starting to become monstrously long. Thanks, Carrie. :D

  8. Lovely review. This does sound like a really creative blend, and although I wouldn't be sure what I thought about those notes otherwise, from your description it sounds both beautiful and wearable.

  9. Birgit: Thank you!

    Liz: You and infect each other with lemmings. :)

    anotherperfumeblog: Thanks very much. The notes list immediately appealed to me, it was one of the first ones I just knew I had to try. My instinct proved correct, as it left the strongest impression on me. I really love honey perfumes, but SO many of them fail because they end up smelling very dusty, and while some might like that dusty facet, I do not. For the Love of Bees is VERY successful, as is Aftelier Honey Blossom. I think the key is combining honey and aromatics with hay/grasses and not overdoing it on the linden. Not to mention, using high quality ingredients.

  10. This was the one that stood out to me at first, too. It was a cold winter day, rainy, gross, typical Seattle. I tried this one and was taken to a sunny field. Made me instantly happy.