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Moss Gown – You’ll want one – November 30, 2012 New Fragrance Listing

Are you stressed out from Holiday shopping? Before you start pounding the pavement again, or cruising endlessly around the old internets looking for the perfect gifts, I suggest you stop right here and buy yourself a little gift, first. Like right NOW!

The little gift from yourself to you is a decant of Moss Gown, the newest release from the independent perfume house, Providence Perfume. This green botanical chypre is pure magic, created by the super-talented Charna Ethier, and is available from her website in two sizes. If you are a passionately curious scent-seeker, then odds are pretty certain you’ll want an FB, so I’m telling you to do this now, before Moss Gown is sold out. Charna makes only small batches of her beautiful 100% natural scents, which are expensive, but worth every penny.

The scent was inspired by a story that the perfumer read to her daughter, called The Moss Gown. Described as a modern take on Cinderella combined with King Lear, the story is set in the Deep South, in the bayou, and involves an austere father, evil sisters and a witchy woman who turns the young heroine’s mossy rags into a magical gown, to capture the heart of the handsome young plantation owner. (I can’t help but picture Carole Burnett as Scarlett O’Hara in the green velvet dress made from Tara’s curtains…but that’s another story).

From her website: “While reading this tale of courage, love and magic to my daughter I was intrigued by the supernatural aura and the vivid setting of the bayou to create a scent that evokes the enchanted gown,” says Charna Ethier, “Like the pages of a book, Moss Gown perfume unfolds in a unique manner that tells a story on the skin.”

She’s absolutely right, it does unfold like a story, and the scent story is fascinating. Moss Gown opens green, green – green, warm and steamy – I can smell the bayou. By using unusual notes in the opening, like sunflower which has green watery aspects, mixed with musty herbal chamomile and resinous cedar, there’s a real sensation of green, damp heaviness.

The story gets more intriguing in the heart. Charna uses boronia, an unusual floral with a “ripe”nuance – used in Diorissimo and Folavril by Annick Goutal – paired with spicy rose and narcotic narcissus. This accord sits on top of the green moss, and seems dark, rich, almost menacing. But soon, soft lilac and green violet notes float above these intense florals, adding warmth and lightness to the green mossiness and the rich floral mix. The steaminess of the bayou is changing, the swirling mist is lifting. I can’t put this scent story down….

The intensity of the green moss-scape changes once more with the addition of the base-notes. Cedar-moss brings the moss gown out of the bayou onto dry land, and lets it float in the breezes, and soft creamy sandalwood tames the slightly bitter resins from the aromatic white cedarwood extract at the end. Moss Gown ends with the feel of dark silk velvet warmed by the sun, scented by the woods and the scattered leaves of mossy herbs drying in the folds of the luxurious scented fabric.

Moss Gown is far beyond the standard perfume stereotype, perfectly suited for the sensibilities of perfumistas and vintage-lovers. It’s green, it’s a chypre, it’s strong, it’s complex, it’s magical. Charna Ethier is a talented perfumer, and the fact that she uses nothing but pure flowers, plants, fruits and woods in her creations, and ends up with such beautifully complex fragrances - which have excellent sillage and longevity BTW - is evidence that she’s mastered her craft.

I’m going to buy the book, Moss Gown, and read it with my granddaughter over the holidays. I hope I have some of the juice left by then – it’s irresistible.

Moss Gown is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $8.00 for 1 ml.