Samantha Scriven of 'I Scent You a Day' reviews Sarah Ireland Perfumes.
I think I have a Velvet Crush: My Verdict on Sarah Ireland Perfumes
You may not yet have heard of Sarah Ireland perfumes, but having received a set of four samples from Sarah last week, I can pretty much guarantee that you will know this name in the future.
Sarah is a new perfumer who has been mentored by the incredible Marina Barcenilla, who you may have read about here on this blog. Marina has also run classes for the Fragrance Foundation and is the winner of not one, but two coveted FiFi awards. It’s a safe bet that any advice from Marina was going to be pretty good.
When I first started sniffing my way through the Sarah Ireland samples, I was astonished that this was a debut collection. The quality is high, the scents are unique, non-generic and innovative, and if Velvet Crush isn’t destined to be a classic, then I’ll eat my hat. Right, let’s have a look at them.
Keahia is a beautiful woody patchouli scent with one of my favourite ever notes: sandalwood. From the first spray, Keahia makes its presence felt. The fragrance doesn’t behave in obedient stages i.e top, middle and base, but emerges as a stunning foresty accord with my beloved sandalwood rounding the earthiness off with a smooth flourish. Inspired by a walk in the woods, (and you can tell), Keahia, meaning gift of God, is an appreciation of the wonders of nature, especially as smoky Autumn gently takes the mantel from a fading summer.
I don’t know if it’s the iris or the vetiver that keeps me sniffing this, but I’ll never tire of it.
Pink Pepper and Ginger Lily.
Pink pepper is derived from a berry rather than a spice and is used widely in fruity floral fragrances. I don’t always love it, as it is often an indicator of a perfume that might be too on the sweet side for me. No such fear exists here, however, because pink pepper has been paired with spicy fresh ginger lily. This is a wonderfully dry and tart green scent. If you are familiar with Gres Cabotine, you’ll know that lovely bitter green note that I’m taking about.
Here, Ginger Lily is like one of those children who look like an exact mixture of both parents. It’s both spicy and sharp, yet there is an equally vivid lily note that complements the pink pepper and heat of the ginger perfectly. This is a sophisticated floral that keeps you guessing. It’s not typical of either ginger, lilies or pink pepper fragrances, but put them together and they are so perfect you wonder why nobody else has done it before.
At first spray, the first note that emerged was orange flower, which has to be one of the prettiest of all the pretty notes that are out there. Almost immediately, the orange flower is joined by citrus notes, including my favourite grapefruit, along with bergamot, mandarin and bitter orange. What you get is an irresistibly refreshing summer citrus scent that already holds floral clues to the delight you have ahead. When the citruses recede, as citruses so often do, they leave in their place one of the most pure, and enjoyable orange flower fragrances I have ever smelled. In a blind test I would have attributed this to Annick Goutal, who now has a serious competitor.
Summer Serenade is almost ethereally beautiful and evokes diaphanous white tulle and all that is delicate.
Crisp, green, shower fresh and botanical, all at the same time, Summer Serenade is a stunningly pretty fragrance that lives up to its name. PS This would make a perfect wedding scent.
And now we come to Crushed Velvet, which I already consider nothing short of a masterpiece. The notes are as follows (and in no special order): ylang ylang, patchouli, tuberose, geranium, Bulgarian rose, Moroccan rose, vanilla and sandalwood.
Here’s what I actually get: a fantastically musky sandalwood rose fragrance that immediately feels like its been around a longer than it has. I don’t really want to dissect it too much, because to my nose this has its own “crushed velvet” accord which is more than just a sum of its parts. It’s an old-fashioned rose scent that is almost, but not quite, outflanked by the oriental touches of sandalwood and patchouli. Since I am a huge fan of oriental rose notes and sandalwood, this feels like it was tailor made for me, even though it wasn’t.
Aromatic, musky, mysterious, sophisticated, addictive. When it comes to Crushed Velvet I’m heading for full bottle territory.
A fantastic debut collection from a very talented perfumer who is definitely worth watching. Congratulations Sarah, you have four superb fragrances and Crushed Velvet is destined to be a cult classic. I hope you enter the Fragrance Foundation Awards in 2019.
You can buy all of these fragrances from the Sarah Ireland website. With thanks to Sarah who kindly sent me some samples to try. Opinions are my own.