Post by Einsof
My name is Einsof (eye-n-s’off) and I’d like to share a fusion of styles, mysticism and perfume with you. I recently sat down with botanical perfumer JoAnne Bassett to explore her Sacred Frankincense Collection. It comes as no surprise that speaking with JoAnne is rather like listening to your favorite Tori Amos album in that you’re going to be subject to impromptu voyages into spirituality, reincarnation and a host of muses both sacred and sensual.
“Working with some absolutes blocks the energy.” A typical Bassett-ism, there is nothing within JoAnne’s work which does not reach out to some higher purpose, “They can make the purpose of a perfume muddy, unclear or the energy simply stops flowing.” Her technical approach is intimately entwined with a higher calling. The word ‘exquisite’ floats around the room as perhaps the only synonym for the art of her craft.
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
These moments of revelation come as leaned-in, quieter tones from the sprite-like intuitive perfumer. “In the room where I blend,” JoAnne begins another such secret telling, “I have a lot of help. The plant devas, divine energies, indigenous wisdoms… and love come together in there.” After working with several clients in Saudi Arabia and parts Middle East, it seems the consummate queen of French style perfumery had found a new ‘sound’ in the voice of the Djin. “I woke up one morning and looked in the mirror- do you know I had no idea who was standing there. This energy was insistent.”
The common thread of the collection is hydro-distilled frankincense sacra from Oman and a heavy dose of the harem and Middle Eastern magic. Calling upon her extensive collection of vintage essential oils, home grown botanicals she dedicatedly tinctures and newer players such as CO2 extracted butter — JoAnne has crafted a bridge between the refined classic European perfumery with the attar laden East where aroma was ritual, “…I like the idea of worlds, old and new merging; the evolution of the raw material all in one glance.”
Sacred Frankincense 1 by JoAnne Bassett 2014
The collection is Royal Alchemy Collection, the perfume is Sacred Frankincense 1
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Olibanum, moroccan rose, elemi, peru balsam, lavender, artemisia, yuzu, chamomile, lime (linden blossom
Upon application there is an immediate sense of an apricot orchard, and familiar notes; lavender & peru balsam are waving from deep within the grove. Elemi, yuzu and linden greet you with childlike glee and beckon you into the rows. Throughout wear, chamomile softened cabbage rose and rose absolute exchange faces like JoAnne and her Muses in the mirror- sometimes you can distinguish between notes and sometimes there is a completely new being in your presence.
Photo Stolen Wikipedia
In the center of the forest- a clearing where all flora and fauna come to pay tribute to frankincense. The jus rests here for a moment (another interesting facet of the JoAnne’s Djinic journey is a change in tempo for unfolding of the perfume)- it seems to be the moment when the florals take their final melding with the resins in preparation for dry down. Every note seems to pop out from behind a puff of frankincense- and this complex dance of synergy continues for some time.
After about 3 hours of play in this enchanted forest, you realize you may be just dancing in the mirage of the desert as a luxurious.. exquisite…dry down of softened peru balsam, rose and davana have left only a soft but definitely resinous waft of the dervishes whirling through my nose and mind. This skin souvenir will continue for hours, even though reapplication is the way of the truly natural.
Photo Stolen Wikipedia
“I don’t quite understand,” JoAnne says genuinely surprised, taken aback even, “Do people only pray once? Is that why they only want to spray once?” Of course, JoAnne considers the people who are attracted to her art as “Divine Clients, for whom the perfume is more than just aesthetic.” She recounts noting her observant clients wash their hands, and apply pleasing perfume (an intentional reason the client sought out JoAnne’s Custom Couture Perfume services)- a fragrant way of preparation for courting communication with the Divine.
It is in this capacity which JoAnne finds her true calling: to call upon lifetimes of aromatic memory in order assist, uplift, affect energy patterns and give genuine moments of satori to those who experience her craft. These moments of divine illumination are not meant to last… they are glimpses into our own heavenly natures.
“Do you know, I came from the world of the stock market… and I am still enriching people’s lives. What I can do for them from my blending room is not significantly different from what I did from behind a desk. I am here to be of service to my clients.” JoAnne left the stock floor to search the world’s gardens for the most exquisite, hand distilled oils and attars. Her reserve must equal that of the royalty she references in her art.
In the naturals world, JoAnne gives quite a show of sillage and longevity. There is nothing overly gendered about her work, only names and your nose will have any influence- perhaps a reason why the collection is numbered rather than titled. Sacred Frankincense 1 could be worn anywhere and everywhere. Truly this collection proves true that what is intimately sacred will make intimacy sacred- these pieces of olfactory art could be found as easily in the boudoir and on the altar.
From JoAnne Bassett: Because there wasn’t a perfume giveaway I am offering a special sale on my website of the fragrances recently reviewed. http://joannebassett.com/natural_perfumes/2014/11/08/special-sale-on-joanne-bassett-natural-perfumes/
Has anyone tried JoAnne Bassett? What do you think when your favorite artist changes their style up? Is it interesting expansion or irritating aberration?