Elisa’s Atelier: : Lavender’s Blue


Checking into the Twitter hive this morning, I listened to Gillian talking to Elisa about cherry scents and mentioned that I have a fetish for lavender. All of my cleaning products are lavender: Seventh Generation‘s lavender and mint dish soap and their lavender-eucalyptus dryer sheets; Method’s lavender cleaning spray; Febreeze’s lavender-vanilla linen spray and lavender room spray; Swiffer’s lavender sheets and lavender wet sheets. I also use Kiss My Face’s lavender shea lotion and mix lavender essential oil into my witch hazel,* and when I’m feeling particularly lavender-y I just use lavender essential oil instead of perfume. So, I’m committed.

Elisa’s knowledge of perfume has made us all interested in finding the perfect scent, and as I’ve watched, Michelle, Gillian, Katy and Maureen have tried a slew of scents under her guidance. The conversation about lavender turned into a search for a more complex lavender perfume (that is, more complex than the essential oil). The trick with lavender is to find a scent that’s a blue lavender– there’s a chemical lavender smell that’s fine for some cleaners but not as a perfume. Elisa’s first suggestion, Caldey Island Lavender, has been described as a “blue lavender,” so apparently my olfactory synesthesia is accurate (or at least not alone) in picking out color shades of lavender scents.

Reading reviews of Caldey Island Lavender led to Hermes Brin de Reglisse. I don’t know how I feel about licorice as a scent– I dislike it as a flavor, but I don’t usually rub candy on my skin. So I decided to try the sample pack of 3 Hermes scents from The Perfumed Court (which Maureen has mentioned on her blog**). To round out the three, I chose Ambre Narguile and Vetiver Tonka, because when I’m not interested in lavender I’m interested in woodsy, sultry scents– my favorite perfume for almost two decades has been CK’s Obsession (I get compliments on this all the time– it may be a clichéd department store scent but it works for me).

Continuing to search through the Perfumed Court by scent with Elisa’s tweeted real-time input, I found Ambre & Lavande by Accord Parfait (for which I could find no English reviews) and MPG’s Ambre Precieux. I ordered sample 1.5ml spray bottles of all six scents for under $50 and will report my findings here after the samples arrive.


* Witch hazel is a mild natural astringent and is actually available in a lavender scent but it’s cheaper to make your own by adding essential oil to the drugstore brand. Far be it from me to drag anyone away from her rose witch hazel, though– I’m not sure adding rose oil would produce the same effect.
** Maureen, I told Elisa to ask you about the lavender fields/pinky story.

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12 Responses to Elisa’s Atelier: : Lavender’s Blue

  1. I used to live close to a huge lavender farming area in Sequim, WA (if you can get up there for the lavender festival some summer, it’s amazing – lavender lemonade stands, lavender cakes and lavender salads…) My favorite lavender products, mostly made on site, were from Jardin de Soleil:
    http://www.jardindusoleil.com/
    In particular, their lavender vanilla lip balm is terrific. Their prices are really reasonable, and their products smell just like the stuff you go pick for $5 a bunch on their farm.

  2. Yum… they have lavender honey and lavender dark chocolate too, both of which I love. It’s a perfume! You can eat it! What more can one ask?

  3. Elisa says:

    That Seventh Generation stuff is the best dish soap ever. It smells so fancy! And it’s like $3.50 from Whole Foods.

  4. yesisaidyesiwillyes says:

    There is a place — a business — in Reno, very near my parents’ home, called Lavender Ridge. It’s a miniature version of the photo at the head of your post. There are larger places like it in Sonoma and/or Napa, here in California.

    The place in Reno sells Lavender what-have-you of all kinds. Essence, oils, soaps, spices, salt, pepper, shampoo, conditioner, after-shave, sachets, and lots lots more. Even lavender icy hot muscle rub!

    And when — and right now actually is when it happens — the plants are a-bloomin’, with the bees a-buzzin’, and the sweet smell mixes with the dry high desert air with its already sweet-tinge of sage and Truckee river moisture: wow!

  5. ash smith says:

    I love lavender too — I use a lot of Mrs. Myers lavender scent things & I’m making a lavender soap right now. *But* my new favorite thing ever is an atomizer that my sister-in-law gave me. They’re really inexpensive, but it’s the kind of thing I would never buy for myself. Anyway, I mixed one part rubbing alcohol, one part lavender essential oil, and one part vanilla extract (I think the vanilla “blues” it a little) and it smells super awesome and clean and refreshing!! I also like that it doesn’t have any phthalates or whatever.

    I also really love this Black Pepper one, speaking of perfumes, and this one called Paperback

  6. Maureen says:

    There was evidently some big push in my neighborhood a few years back where yuppies planted lavender and rosemary plants in their yards and then totally forgot about them, and now we are all up to our waists in giant overgrown lavender and rosemary shrubs (yes, they are perennial!) that we have to skirt around in order to make our way up the sidewalks. On the plus side, it smells great — the air in the summer gets rather deliciously perfumed by all the plants — and I never have to buy lavender or rosemary for cooking. Although I still haven’t gotten used to lavender as an ingredient…it always tastes like I’m eating perfume. Weird.

  7. Elisa says:

    What food do you put lavender in? I’m a little iffy on eating flowers as well.

  8. This may be a question for The Flavor Bible, but I know it’s good in chocolate. A quick “Search inside this book” on Amazon of the FB reveals fruits (plums, peaches, lemon, berries). Lavender honey is good. I guess it works well with “sweet,” although I think it could be incorporated with some roasted something (here it is in a roasted duck). I feel like it would go well with lamb? (This sounds like a challenge for Kristen.)

  9. Here are a bunch more recipes. I think a lavender creme brulee would be awesome. I’m less convinced by the fish suggestions.

  10. Maureen says:

    I’ve made lavender ice cream and lavender cookies. The taste is so weirdly aromatic…you feel like you’re tasting it with your nose. I know that taste is very much in the nose, but rarely is it as clear as with lavender…it tastes like nothing, basically, until you’ve swallowed it, and then you get an aromatic burst at the end.

  11. I’ve had lavender on both lamb and fish in Port Townsend (being that they’re really close to the Sequim lavender fields, it’s in every spice mix there – and they’re surprisingly good together!
    Lavender lemonade also terrific. Lavender with vanilla shortbread…

  12. Sandi says:

    I Love Lavender!

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