One thing I have definitely noticed over the past few years has been the coalescence of the natural perfume community. For the last few years there have been collaborative projects. Shows featuring the smaller indie and natural perfumers. Facebook groups for support when you need it. One of the reasons for the vitality of natural perfume is all of this. It was one of those collaborative projects, The Mystery of Musk, where I was introduced to the perfumes of Lisa Fong under her label Artemisia Natural Perfume. That project was all about natural perfumers creating a botanical musk fragrance. Her entry Drifting Sparks was one of the most subtle compositions within the entire project. It marked her as someone to watch. Over the past four years she has only become more assured as an artist. I was delighted to receive her first attempt to create something more masculine, Ozymandias.
Ozymandias is the name of a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelly. It speaks of a traveler who observes the ruins of the great statue of which all that remains standing are the two legs on a pedestal on which these words are etched, “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.” It is a poem to remind one that all things once mighty will fall to decay over time. It is an interesting inspiration to start from. Ms. Fong sees this as a journey from the brightness of an unquestioned reign which becomes sanctified with frankincense, in the heart, before crumbling to dust with a fantastic mitti attar in the base.
Ozymandias opens with a beautiful full spectrum mandarin as both the fruit and wood add the brightness of the tree in sunshine, it is an uplifting opening. It becomes a bit sharper with Ms. Fong’s use of arnica absolute which adds green facets along with some softer hay-like qualities. Then she layers in multiple frankincense sources which build a resinous power in tiny increments. When natural perfumers get their mix right there is a crescendo which often occurs as these precious materials intermix on my skin. The frankincenses are the overture because the addition of tobacco and mitti attar cause Ozymandias to soar to the heavens. The mitti attar is sandalwood distilled from old-fashioned clay pots and it adds that earthy clayey foundation underneath the rich wood. It is the sense of the earth reaching up to reclaim even the mighty, but not quite yet.
Ozymandias has 6-8 hour longevity and modest sillage.
Every step Ms. Fong has been taking has been sure and is all about building a brand which has the ability to endure instead of ending up on a decayed pedestal of their own. Ozymandias confirms the promise I have seen building over the past four years. It is her best perfume to date and let me encourage you to look on her work and rejoice.
Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Artemisia Natural Perfume.