eyeliner on a cat

eyeliner on a cat
beauty, scent & style scrutinized for pleasure

Monday, January 21, 2013

April Aromatics Jasmina: an Ode to Sol Invictus

jasmine peacock floral sculpture, unknown artist

April Aromatics Jasmina has achieved no mean feat in its life as a perfume, and that is to say, its design is focused solely on what the raw ingredients bring to the table, and how best to make them sing in harmony. I believe that to create a successful natural fragrance means several things: the quality of the raw materials must be the best, the skill of the perfumer is crucial, as is her/his taste level, and there should be humility in approaching the process-- because these gifts from the earth and their power is really bigger than all of us.

I have ticked off every box with Berlin perfumer Tanja Bochnig's fragrance Jasmina. Each time I wear it, I am struck dumb for awhile, unable to do anything except inhale the scent. I can't think coherently or even attempt witticisms. It activates the ancient lizard part of my brain that can only process urges... and then I bliss out for undetermined amounts of time. It makes me truly believe that simplicity is the most beautiful thing, and so far from boring. As I make the leap to another part of my brain to use words to explain what I'm thinking and feeling, I must try to assign importance to written and verbal language once again.

Notes: Jasmine Grandiflorum from India and France, Ylang Ylang from Thailand, Pink Grapefruit from US

I've got other jasmine and citrus-based perfumes in my collection that I love very much-- the combination of these notes is always cheerful and is a bona-fide, never-fail anti-depressant. Jasmina takes what I love about jasmine soliflores and intensifies it all.

It goes further with BIG jasmine, BIG pink grapefruit, and one other vital element that makes the jasmine explode as if being viewed through a kaleidoscope- ylang ylang. The ylang ylang gives it a bright but buttery  yellow sunlight feel. The hint of indole, the faintly animalic, earthy timbre, every facet of natural jasmine is honored here and certain ones magnified with impressive skill, restraint, proportion and positivity. Also, the outrageous quality of the raw materials doesn't hurt, either.

And when Jasmina's sun is setting, other colors and shadows draw close, merge and shift. The vast expanse of the world shrinks around you with the darkening sky, until it's just you and your jasmine flower in sweet solitude. The moonlight heralds the arrival of Jasmina In The Dark: the light touch of indole, the slight incense-effect-- almost like champaca-- and the emergence of ylang ylang is much more prevalent on my skin at night, as if the wind takes away part of the fragrance with it as it passes through, or perhaps it could be adding something, just as easily. Or both.

This perfume is so beautiful that it breaks my heart, much in the same way Guerlain's L'Heure Bleue does for me (though I am not comparing these two perfumes at all- they are not similar- just how they effect me). Perhaps the impermanent nature of perfume is responsible for this bittersweet emotion. When one's human failings render them unable to fully process and hold on to such natural beauty, what can they do? Let it go through tears of joy, until the next time.

Tanja Bochnig [photo credit: Holger Geffken]

I am no perfumer, but I do know that a truly great natural perfume is very difficult to make. What seems like just a few ingredients put together actually takes a lot of work and a lot of trial and error-- the perfumer must be like a jazz musician, following subtle clues and not afraid to enter uncharted territory. Aromachemicals are always exactly the same, but natural materials are rarely so. Due to this fact, many adjustments are constantly being made, especially between batches, to allow for the closest possible consistency for the bottles on the shelf.

To my mind, Jasmina is a love poem. Who has written it and who it's written for is not completely evident. I suppose it depends on what you believe. What I believe is that only Tanja could have written this particular poem with a hand guided by her passion and reverence for the earth and her flawless, modern artisan aesthetic and execution. Now, we are fortunate enough to be a small part of it if we'd like to be. It's an invitation that remains open.

[interesting footnote: Tanja works with special Herkimer diamonds as well as crystals, which she uses to infuse her perfumes with, in order to imbue the liquid essences with the specific energy of the diamonds and/or crystals. I was surprised to find a few crystals tinkling in the bottom of my bottle when it arrived! She also creates products for her AromaYoga line as well as a slew of room sprays that sound amazing]

April Aromatics Perfumes are available in the US via Etsy, and overseas directly from the perfumer's website at AprilAromatics.com as well as other shops across the globe .

Product sample provided by the perfumer for my consideration.


  1. Replies
    1. I'm obsessed with your perfumes, Tanja. Your work is on a VERY short list of natural perfume that can hang in any market.

  2. Your every word of this exquisite review of Jasmina is so true, Carrie. Tanja should get some kind of award for this perfume: it's beautiful beyond measure.

    1. Hi Suzanne! I'm so glad you agree with my assessment of Jasmina. Have you tried her Calling All Angels? That one is a nominee for the Indie FiFi this year!

  3. Yes! I love Calling All Angels, too, and wrote about it. Deep love!!!!