One of the things I find interesting about independent perfumers is they are olfactory ambassadors of where they live. It shouldn’t be surprising to find an artist inspired by their surroundings. I first learned of Shelley Waddington in 2010 as I tried her Debut de Carmel. At that time, she lived on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Over the next few years she would let that area of the world spark her creativity. Also, particularly, in the last two years she has hit her most creative phase as a perfumer. I have enjoyed her artistic growth and have looked forward to her new releases because of it.
Ms. Waddington has left California for the Pacific Northwest. She has set up her atelier in Portland, OR. When I heard this I was wondering how long it would be until we received a fragrance based on this new location. The answer was the sample I received a month ago called Rainmaker.
When I heard the name my mind was pulled towards the old tent shows in Dust Bowl America in the 1930’s where the preachers claimed to be able to use faith to make it rain. Ms. Waddington turned out to be more literal. She wanted Rainmaker to be a rainy day in the forests of the Northwest. Rainmaker is a perfume of soaring trees in a damp forest.
The first drops of Rainamker focus on pine. Ms. Waddington surrounds it with rose leaf, incense, and iris. Together these sharpen the pine effect rendering it almost metallic to my senses as I wore it. I say almost because every time I really felt it was heading that way it would snap back to pine. A rich patchouli sets up the smell of the damp forest woods. In the base is cedar, fir, and redwood. They are a woody fantasia. What pulls together the rainy milieu is Ms. Waddington’s use of petriichor. Petrichor is that smell of the forest after a rain. It is caused by the rain releasing the oils that have gathered on the surface of the leaves. It is Nature’s way of adding a base note to a thunderstorm. Ms. Waddington, doing her best Mother Nature impression, adds petrichor to Rainmaker to provide that same effect. It is a literal keynote as when it arrives it coalesces everything which has come previous to it.
Rainmaker has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I have to say if Rainmaker is a preview of things to come from Ms. Waddington I think I’m going to be delighted she decided to move on up to the NW side of the country.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by En Voyage.