The desert is one of my favorite places to be. Despite having lived my whole life near the east coast and the ocean I would be happy spending the remainder in the desert. The time there was a reminder that even in the seemingly barren places beauty is found on its own terms. My favorite activity at night when camping is to use my binoculars to stargaze. With little light pollution no fancy telescope is necessary to view the majesty of the galaxy. One night the desert put on its own show for me. As I was looking up this gorgeous scent began to wind around me. I kept looking around to figure out where it was coming from. Finally I put the binoculars down and searched for the source. A few yards away was a stand of cactus with a bunch of white flowers on top. I spent the rest of the night perched on a boulder nearby enjoying the conjunction of heavens and earth.
The flower I would learn is called Queen of the Night and blooms for one night every year; usually during the fall. It comes from a variety of cactus called a vanilla cactus. There have been a few perfumes which have evoked this flower mainly using vanilla. Floral Street Arizona Bloom takes a different tack which I think comes closer to what I found that night.
Floral Street is the British brand begun and creatively directed by Michelle Feeney. Arizona Bloom is her tenth release in three years. All the fragrances have been composed by perfumer Jerome Epinette. Ms. Feeney works by giving M. Epinette a moodboard accentuating a few phrases as his brief. Because of the success of many of these perfumes I would very much like to see one of these because they hit the mark so often. For Arizona Bloom the phrase was “total freedom and high-octane living”. M. Epinette delivers something which captures that energy.
Previous attempts at capturing an accord of Queen of the Night have used vanilla. M. Epinette goes for a surprising surrogate, coconut. Using two different ingredients he converts that beachy ingredient into the Queen of the Night. This accord building happens as soon as you spray it on. The two key pieces are black pepper and low-atranol oakmoss. Black pepper is perfect because the desert has a spicy scent in the evening and this captures it. It also attenuates much of the umbrella cocktail nature of coconut. The pepper cuts it so far back it does resemble vanilla but much less confectionary-like. Then the oakmoss, missing the bite of the atranol, provided a plush green vegetal carpet for the coconut and pepper to rest upon. This is remarkably close to the scent I remember that night in the desert. M. Epinette adds in the warmth of the boulder via amber and the vault of the sky through some white musks.
Arizona Bloom has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Arizona Bloom is a classic piece of perfume accord construction. All the pieces being used come together in something almost supernatural in its beauty. Ms. Feeney and M. Epinette have created a creature of the desert night.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Floral Street.