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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Liz Zorn Riverwalk: my top choice for PLAP 2011 (and a draw!)

What an exciting day it was, that day I got my gorgeous little box of 13 samples for the Summer of Patchouli Love Project (or PLAP- Peace, Love and Patchouli) on Perfume Pharmer. I stayed up late that night (well, I'm already a night owl, so it was later than usual, even). I sniffed and took notes well into the wee hours, and I had a wide variance of reactions to the fragrances: pleasure, displeasure, confusion, childlike giddiness, wonderment... reactions that really ran the gamut. When I got to #2, I knew within seconds a couple of important things: a) this is fantastic, something I would wear regularly, and b) this is without a doubt Liz Zorn's perfume. I am a Soivohle junkie, through and through. Liz' signature of rich, resinous aromatics with a tinge of sweetness is something I am completely defenseless against. Her perfumes are enchanting, original and stay with you for hours on end. Riverwalk (her entry for PLAP, #2) is no exception.

[photo by Liz Zorn]

Riverwalk has many scent elements to it, and I'll list them according to Liz' Blog. Keep in mind that these are not listed in order, it's just a rough list:
notes: bergamot, lavender absolute, French lavender EO, star anise, galangal root, petitgrain, fir balsam absolute, rectified birch, choya loban, geranium leaf EO, geranium concrete, 2 different aged patchoulis, patchouli absolute, cassis absolute, hay absolute, blend of 5 different natural cedars, cocoa absolute, tonka bean tincture, Indonesian vetiver, benzoin Siam absolute, brown oakmoss and vanilla absolute, rosewood/linaloe/ho wood(?), ambergris

Riverwalk is a fougere at heart, allowing the classic composition to put patchouli front and center. No natural isolates were used, it's a 100% natural perfume in every way possible. The underlying sweetness of vanilla, cocoa and tonka is absolutely delightful and never overwhelming, and works so well with the intensely aromatic lavender essences. Riverwalk's spicy, smoky side is really brought out by the contrasting note of star anise. The fragrance mellows over a period of hours and the warm gourmand aspects are brought to the forefront. The gorgeous lavender lasts throughout the entire wearing, accompanying the rich patchouli to the very end, creating a delicious, fuzzy incense.

My initial impression of Riverwalk still holds true to me. It immediately felt like something that had so many facets that it was constantly growing and changing on my skin, leading me down different paths simultaneously. One minute, it's a fairly masculine fougere, the next, a gourmand patchouli, and then, an ode to honey-drenched hay in the sun. I think that this is the mark of a successful and unique natural perfume: it's not static, definitely not linear, and not only one thing to all people. Riverwalk highlights the best things about patchouli; extending its possibilities beyond what our memories have allowed, tenderly taking us by the hand while we stroll into new territory. You have a frame of reference to recognize its classic elements, but realize that the originality in this composition takes patchouli far beyond any expectations. To me, this is one of the most joyful things about fragrance.

To celebrate The Summer of Patchouli Love Project, I'm having a draw for two (count 'em 2!) 5ml silver atomizers filled with Liz Zorn's Riverwalk. To enter the draw, leave me a comment about anything having to do with patchouli: do you have a favorite patchouli perfume? Do you have issues with patchouli? Do you love it to bits like me?

The drawing will close one week from today, on Saturday, July 16th at 1pm Central US time. Two VERY lucky winners will be chosen at random, and should email me with their mailing address at eyelineronacat at gmail dot com. I will announce the winners around 2pm on July 16th. Liz will have Riverwalk available soon on her website for sale, so stay tuned!

33 comments:

  1. Thanks for the draw! I haven't yet smelled a perfume putting patchouli at the forefront, so I'm curious! I'm not yet sure if I like it in fragrances... (Need to smell more!)

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  2. Hi Alnysie! Thanks for stopping by and entering. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you get to try Riverwalk. :)

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  3. I love patchouli to bits and I love Liz Zorn too! I would love to try this. I have a ton of patchouli-heavy perfumes in my collection. L de Lolita Lempicka and Belle en Rykiel are two of my favorites. I also love roses with patchouli.

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  4. I LOVE patchouli, especially with rose (I know- what a cliche!) though surprisingly I don't own any patchouli heavy perfumes..I *do* like L'Artisan's Voleur de Roses and FM Potrait of a Lady..I also love cold process soaps scented with orange and patchouli (Laura from Olive and Oud makes a killer Orange Patchouli soap. I also enjoy the sweet orange patchouli soap from 'Aunt Nancy's soap' on etsy)..
    Please enter me in the draw- I haven't tried any Liz Zorn perfume..

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  5. Thanks for commenting, Lavanya! Boy, those orange & patchouli soaps sound wonderful. A lot of people really like the combination of patchouli and rose, but I'm not a fan of rose. It's a "get your chocolate out of my peanut butter" kind of situation. :)

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  6. Oh, how fun! What a lovely contest - Riverwalk sounds divine.

    I've always loved patchouli. Elvira always makes fun of me for it. I think I first fell in love with patchouli when I tried Bond No.9 New Haarlem for the first time. It was love at first sniff. There's just something about a good patchouli note that triggers every happy memory I have. Plus, it smells damned good on me! =)

    Also, to add to Elisa and Lavanya, I also love patchouli and rose together.

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  7. Hey Joey! I'm glad you're entering! I'm starting to feel like the only person on earth who doesn't like patchouli and rose together. I'll wait and see if someone, ANYONE stops by who shares my preference. We'll see. :)

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  8. I'm a sucker for rose and patchouli, too, but I think my favorite patchouli perfume is Montale Patchouli Leaves. It somehow manages to be both lean (slightly masculine) and voluptuous (gorgeous sillage).

    Patchouli and lavender is a trickier combo for me, as I found out with SIP Lyric Rain, which I didn't care for. Still, I'd love the chance to try Riverwalk, if you'd kindly enter me in the draw. Thanks, Carrie!

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  9. I don't dislike rose and patchouli together, but I actually prefer the patchouli to be more upfront with a gourmand edge to it. I do have issues with it when it veers into a head shop smell, and Lush Karma makes me run screaming away. I love to use Kiss My Face Peaceful Patchouli body wash to slap me awake in the morning. Thanks so much for hosting this drawing as Riverwalk sounds amazing.

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  10. Suzanne: I've not tried that Montale before (to be honest, I gave up on them in the midst of testing the Aouds), but it does sound really nice! Lavender and patchouli IS difficult to get right, and Riverwalk really comes off as effortlessly cool-- cool in temperature and demeanor.

    KathyT- it sounds like Riverwalk will be right up your alley! I hope you get to try it. :)

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  11. Carrie, I adore patchouli and used to wear it directly from an essential oil vial (much to the horror of my co-workers). My current fave is Banshee Beat by BPAL. It's sweet and aromatic and a little dirty. I really love the lasting power of it too. Please enter me in the Riverwalk draw. Thank you!

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  12. I like patchouli with a gourmand leaning, Intrigant Patchouli by PG is beautiful and of course my old favorite Coromandel.
    I have my problems with fougeres, but I would love to try Liz's approach. Thank you for the draw. :)

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  13. Denise, thanks for entering!

    Birgit- I've not tried that PG, but I definitely will. There is a lot for me to explore in that line, and while I haven't LOVED everything so far, I can definitely tell that the vibe is definitely up my alley. Riverwalk is for sure a gourmand patchouli, but the lavender makes itself known and felt, so you'd really have to call it a FougChouliMand. :)

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  14. I love patchouli and would like to be in the draw.Patchouli is a wonderful earthy,mossy,woodsy and fruity smell all rolled into one.Some of my favourite fragrances with it in are Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and Diors Dune.Thank-You
    Rene Groyer

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  15. Great review Carrie! What an amazing ingredients list - no wonder it's such a multifaceted scent.

    A patchouli scent I went gaga for was Elixir Patchouli by Reminiscence. However, it's such a powerful reminder of my childhood, I can't wear it.

    I would love to be included in the draw, Carrie! Thanks so much!

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  16. Thanks for the review! My favourite patchouli scents at the moment are Patchouli Homme by Nicolai and Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens. Both offer a different and refreshing take on the note, although I still enjoy such fragrances as Patchouli Patch and Reminiscence...^_^

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  17. Thank you for the review, Carrie. I'm not sure if I would love the perfume the way you do (if I happen to win the draw we'll see ;) ) but I enjoyed reading your story. Have you recognized any other perfumers you've tested for the project? (just curious)
    Patchouli isn't my favorite note (when it's prominent and stands out) but I have many perfumes where it's present. I'm still testing your Le Labo sample so can't say yet if I like it. The perfume that comes to mind now is George Sand by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier.
    Once again - great job on the review!

    Undina

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  18. Hi Carrie, "rich, resinous aromatics with a tinge of sweetness", sounds just up my alley, then:-) I don't know any of Liz Zorn's fragrances, tut tut, I blame the whole custom thing...
    Fragrances with a prominent patchouli note: for me that might be Teatro alla Scala and Serge Noire, but those are not exactly for summer wear.
    Thanks for a great review and the draw of course.

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  19. I'm posting this for Isayah, he's having trouble leaving a comment w/ Blogger:

    Isayah said
    Like coffee, I like my patchoulis strong and dark; my present favorites are Lutens Borneo and L'Artisan Patchouli Patch.
    Both present the earthier qualities I am very fond of. Liz Zorn idea of pairing patchouli with greener notes is strikingly different.
    I would gladly give Riverwalk a try; your magnificent post convinced me it really is a beauty. Thanks Carrie!

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  20. Rene: Thank you for commenting and entering the draw!

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  21. Joanne: Boy, oh boy, I think you'd like this. Since you are familiar with LZ's work, you'd be able to recognize it as her work right away, too. I went through all my LZ samples the other night (and that's about 25-30) to inspect more closely the common threads, and they are there, even in the most unexpected ways.

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  22. Laurinha: Hmm, I haven't tried Patchouli Homme yet but I love Patricia de Nicolai, I think anything of hers is worth trying. Thanks for the idea!

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  23. Undina: Thanks for stopping by! The only other perfumer I had an inkling about that turned out to be correct is #13- Kedra Hart (from Opus Oils). I wasn't certain about it, but I recognized the sweet musky thing she does so well. I thought DSH created #5, and I was wrong.

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  24. Asali: Good luck on the draw, I do hope you get to try Liz Zorn's creations soon, even if you don't happen to win the draw!

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  25. Isayah: We got your comment posted in a roundabout way, here, Blogger cannot defeat us! Thanks very much for stopping by to leave a comment. :)

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  26. I adore patchouli, and my favourites are PG Intrigant Patchouli and Coromandel.

    Thanks for the draw!

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  27. I love patchouli and have been meaning to buy a bottle of Fresh Patchouli Pure.

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  28. My favorite patchouli perfume is Cimbalom by roxana villa. Beautiful combo of Jasmine and patchouli.

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  29. I've been following the PLAP bloggers with interest and some nostalgia. Patchouli by itself always reminds me of high school and those slightly older, slightly badder boys with hair longer than was deemed proper in my small town. I have since always loved patchouli on a man. I don't have any real patchouli forward fragrances myself, but I am one who likes the patch-rose combo, most recently in Fresh Cannabis Rose. And I do always come back to Aromatics Elixir which has some patch in it.
    I've never had the opportunity to try any of the Liz Zorn scents but have read some rave reviews and am intrigued by the lavender aspects of Riverwalk.
    Thanks for the draw opportunity.
    -- Lindaloo

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  30. I do have some scents that have patchouli listed in the notes (Flowerbomb, Miss Dior Cherie, Kat Von D Sinner, Prada L' Eau Ambree, Benefit's My Place or Yours Gina) however none of them feature patchouli prominently. I love patchouli all by itself without anything to distract from it and it's a scent I would love to explore more with perfumes that do feature it front and center.

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  31. I have loved patchouli for the last 30 yrs,ever since I could smell it in the air at my hippy aunts house.
    My absolute favourite with patchouli is Earl Grey by Angela Flanders 'An oriental chypre, redolent of 18th Century China in which the fresh bergamot top note is layered over a complex rosewood heart, and dark earthy base notes of patchouli & precious spices.'
    Its marketed as a mans fragnance but like so many other 'masculine' fragnances it smells divine on woman.
    I've just recently come accross your blog and I'm so happy to hear of all the perfumes you recommend and talk about that I've never heard of!
    Ms.Pink

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  32. I've loved patchouli ever since I used to come home from my hippy Aunts smelling of it.
    My absolute favourite is 'Earl Grey' by Angela Flanders 'An oriental chypre, redolent of 18th Century China in which the fresh bergamot top note is layered over a complex rosewood heart, and dark earthy base notes of patchouli & precious spices'
    Its marketed as a mans fragnance but as is the case with many 'masculine' scents it smells divine on woman.
    I've been using it for a few years and ran out so decided to try Iris 39 and a friend who I hadnt seen in ages said 'oh,you've got your usual smell back'. I didnt realise Iris 39 had patchouli in it,no wonder I was drawn to it.
    Love the blog,I'm new to it but have already learned a lot about scents I would otherwise have never come accross,
    Ms.Pink

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  33. Thank you everyone for entering, the draw is now closed.

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