I was originally introduced to For Strange Women many moons ago by my friend, Mary. I told her, "I want to smell like a ritual fire." She asked me if I had heard of For Strange Women, and somehow I had not. Of course, the name grabbed me.
Every few years or so I will switch to a new 'signature scent' for daily use, with one or two alternates I switch in for the changes in mood or style. For the past few years my day-to-day scent was Burberry London, though I've recently forsaken it for my new obsession; Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle. Both are elegant, easy to wear florals that include rose without smelling too grandmotherly, as well as jasmine and patchouli. They're both lovely, but ultimately a little boring.
I was looking for something new; something different and odd and unique. My desire to essentially smell like a campfire led Mary to suggest I try For Strange Women's Fireside Story solid perfume. Once I made it to their website I was so intrigued by what I saw that I placed a fairly large order, comprised mostly of samples.
With small and independent brands, samples can sometimes come in packaging that looks dull or even ugly. This absolutely is not the case with For Strange Women. Each sample I received in my order felt like a little treasure. All of their product packaging is lovely, but the care paid to the presentation of the samples was something I really appreciated. Single sample vials come in tiny envelopes that also contain a card listing the scent notes, sealed with a gold branded sticker.
The Mix and Match Set of 3 Samples comes nestled in a little gold box, with the description cards separate. I got two of these boxes with London Fog, Decadence & Debauchery, Coyote, Bollywood, November in the Temperate Deciduous Forest, and Winter Kitty.
For me the stand outs were London Fog, November and Winter Kitty. I will absolutely be purchasing them in their full sizes at some point in the near future.
Scents can be incredibly hard to describe, and perfumes can smell quite different on different individuals because of varying body chemistry. With that in mind I won't be spending very much time here telling you about how these smell to me. I'm a firm believer in testing out perfumes on your own skin before committing to a full size bottle. However, I'll speak briefly about the scents that I fell in love with.
London Fog smells just like a warm cup of Earl Grey tea with milk and sugar. It's quite sweet smelling and of my three favorites here it's the one that fades the fastest. Because it is not very strong it doesn't have the cloyingly sweet quality a lot of gourmand perfumes can have. It smells clean and fresh and kind of creamy. It's very uncomplicated; if you love Early Grey then you'll love London Fog.
November in the Temperate Deciduous Forest
November is tied with Winter Kitty as my favorite item from this order. I love this scent. To me it absolutely invokes all the things that I love about its namesake month. It has a distinct sweet tea note (much like London Fog) but with a decidedly smokier, earthier quality where London Fog is more creamy and bright. November is how I'd hope my cabin in the woods would smell; dark and intriguing, but also warm and inviting.
Winter Kitty was the absolute surprise of my order. Strangely enough, the thing that Winter Kitty reminds me of the most is a crowded place; The Great Dickens Christmas Fair. The Fair is one of my favorite places in the world. It's mildly chilly on the fake streets of London, but everyone is dressed in appropriate Victorian layers to keep warm. The air smells faintly like the candied almonds that they sell near the front and meat pies and of a fiery hearth and evergreen. Winter Kitty doesn't smell exactly the same as all that, but it invokes the feeling of being in a similar space, and it's comforting and cozy with a little burst of coolness. I wasn't expecting to love Winter Kitty this much, but it's so true to its description, I find it impossible to resist.
If you're looking for a small gift to give someone who enjoys curious perfumes then look no further than the Moondgarden Perfume Sample Set. Each perfume evokes the scent of a different floral landscape; The Northern Moongarden, The Midwest Moongarden, and The Southern Moongarden. I haven't yet had a chance to wear each one of these, but the set looks absolutely gorgeous. Like the Mini Mix and Match Set it comes with three scents, but in a much larger box with beautiful artwork on the front.
The stunning centerpiece of my order was the Dark Heart of the Deep Woods Perfume Amulet. You can choose from several different scents to fill the tiny perfume bottle; Blood Cedar, Rosewood, Palo Santo, or Sandalwood. I chose the Palo Santo.
Of all the perfumes in my order this scent was the strongest. When I opened the bottle in the morning and got a little on my fingertips the aroma lingered there until I went to bed in the evening. The Palo Santo is spicy and dark and mysterious. The chain of the necklace is set with turquoise, black onyx, pyrite, brass, and freshwater pearl and is truly lovely to behold.
Because For Strange Women's perfumes are made without certain chemical fixatives present in most commercial perfumes their staying power and 'throw' is limited. They do offer a Perfume Enhancing Fixative Base to help with extending the time between applications. So far I have used it with all their perfume oils as I've been trying them out. With it I found myself needing to reapplying scents about once every three to four hours.
On their website they present the time for reapplication as an opportunity for ritual and reflection, and honestly, I'm enamored with that idea. Taking a moment to dab on a little bit more perfume, for me, is akin to touching up your lipstick, powdering your nose, or re-smoothing an elaborate hairstyle; it's a moment you have for some glamour and elegance, to maintain a certain personal poise.
The last piece of my order was actually missing when I received my package in the mail. It was sample ribbons of three of their solid perfumes, including the item that originally sparked my interest in placing the order; Fireside Story. I contacted them and within a few days they had gotten back to me with an apology and sent out the remaining items. I may post up an update if I become particularly attached to any of them.
Even with all the things I ordered, there's still more than half of their scent catalogue left for me to try. I'm absolutely excited to place another order with them as soon as time allows!