Independent perfumers have become the primary driving force for natural perfumery. When asked by someone to show them a natural perfume which has the same beauty as a mixed media version. One brand I turn to is Sonoma Scent Studio and the perfumer behind it Laurie Erickson. In 2013 she began her Sonoma Naturals collection with Cocoa Sandalwood and followed that up with Spiced Citrus Vetiver, and Amber Incense. These are great examples of her skill as a natural perfumer. I have found these perfumes to be as good as it gets. Just prior to the Holidays Ms. Erickson sent me the fourth entry in the Sonoma Naturals collection, Pacific Forest.
In 2012 Ms. Erickson released a perfume called Forest Walk as a result of an online conversation between Mandy Aftel and herself. Ms. Erickson’s side of the conversation was about the difficulty in blending a couple of sources of hemlock absolute. Forest Walk was a fragrance that started with its feet firmly planted on the ground but by the end you were high up among the trees surrounded by the woods. Pacific Forest wanted to take that natural hemlock and woods based formula and instead of soaring high; ground it as you dig your toes into the earth with an amber base. In the end Ms. Erickson would also find that some very small amount of synthetics were necessary to get the blend of Pacific Forest correct. So instead of 100% natural she says it is 99% natural.
Pacific Forest uses that hemlock blend from Forest Walk as the opening again. This time it is allowed to be a little gauzier and diffuse. That allows for the violet used to gain a little more prominence than in the original. This is a subtle effect to be sure but wearing them side by side it is definitely apparent. I suspect higher concentrations of synthetics help draw stronger lines between the notes. Pacific Forest is much less delineated and as such it makes changes to how it develops on my skin. The woods begin to arrive as fir, cedar, sandalwood and oakmoss all provide the woods of the forest. In Forest Walk this is where things begin to lift off with an ever expanding woody accord atop the hemlock. In Pacific Forest a fabulously warm amber keeps this earthbound. It has the effect of hugging the woods in a fragrant sunbeam. It also moves the hemlock to the background more.
Pacific Forest has 6-8 hour longevity and very low sillage.
Pacific Forest in the introvert’s version of the same walk taken in Forest Walk. Ms. Erickson puts you at a fork in the path and asks if you want to soar up into the branches or keep your feet on the ground. It depends on my mood which fork I will take on a particular day. That Ms. Erickson has given me that choice is another reason why I think so highly of her.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Sonoma Scent Studio.