Monday, 4 November 2019

Forest Therapy - The unexpected Parfum

We shell out oodles of cash for the joy of owning a ‘parfum’ or perfume extract. They are often considered to be the finest version of a fragrance, comprising of the highest concentration of raw materials (usually above 30%) and possessed of the most tenacious grip to our skin. Vintage perfume collectors talk about parfum as being authentic i.e. the Perfumer’s original vision in the creative process. 

Vol de Nuit - The prettiest parfum in the world

Curiously, the difference in raw material content in an eau de parfum and a parfum is often only about 10 to 20%. So why is it usually at least 100% more expensive?

I don’t have the answer. But I have discovered an unusual and significantly less purse-hurty alternative.

My passion for forest themed scents is well documented at Odiferess. I’ve written of the witchy delights of Ormonde Woman, the festive cheer of Fille en Aiguilles, and the outdoorsy vibrancy of Wrappings with deep adoration. As a sufferer of Seasonal Adjustment Disorder, these scents give me a much needed burst of green sapped clarity to cut through the oppressive fug of the dark nights.

With this in mind, I treated my morale to a bottle of the latest bath oil offering from Aromatherapy Associates - Forest Therapy. This 100% natural bottle of oily goodness promised to raise my spirits and give me a sense of serenity which I tend to think of as a little bit of tree magic. 

Aromatherapy Associates specify an application method. You don’t just pour it into your bath and step in, you are encouraged to apply the oil to your torso, deliver a quick massage and a take a deep mindful huff of your hands before climbing into the bath. This works brilliantly as the oil disperses from your body into the bath but retains a great volume of aromatics right underneath your nose. It works similarly in the shower but it feels a bit wasteful in a short-lived experience.

Whilst pondering the emerald scented steam from my bath tub, I considered what this product actually is, a 30% concentration of essential oils in a carrier. It’s essentially a perfume extract. That evening I swiped a little Forest Therapy over my wrists and d├ęcolletage to explore the idea of wearing this bath oil as a perfume. Much in the same manner as Estee Lauder’s clever oily origins of Youth Dew, it worked. I delighted in several hours of it’s scent in full technicolour and fell asleep to a soft earthy drydown. 

Forest Therapy isn’t a ‘Judderman’ style scent. It doesn’t have the glacial Swedish element of cool air breezing through Pine. It feels much warmer, giving the sensation of a Southern European landscape, the arid element of sun soaked evergreens and dense herbal scrubland. When worn on skin, the Lemon note dominates the opening, giving a grand sunny tone to your walk in the woods. It’s definitely more High Summer than Christmas, which is exactly what I need right now. 

“Native to the Peruvian Andes, exotic Pink Pepper berries lend their spicy, fruity scent to uplift and energise, revitalising the senses while also easing breathing. Gently steam distilled from delicate young Cypress needles, soft, woody Cypress essential oil fills your bathroom with the scent of fresh forest air, washing a sense of calm and comfort over you. Our Juniper Berry, foraged from the mountainous regions of Macedonia, grounds and balances emotions as if you were taking a soothing stroll under the canopy of tall, majestic trees.
A woody heart of balancing Petitgrain, cleansing Ho Wood and earthy Patchouli, complemented with sweet, floral notes from the Davana plant, warm, buttery aromas from luxurious Mimosa flowers and sparkling Sicilian lemon, all our ingredients come together to form a fragrance that is synonymous with the crisp smell of nature. Open the cap and be transported to giant evergreens and woodland walks.” (Aromatherapy Associates website)

Indeed, you will be. 

Other foresty treats for the bath:

Badedas foam bath: bright green bubble juice with the unique woody green scent of Horse Chestnut. It hasn’t changed since my childhood, for which I’m grateful.

Olverum bath oil: More Judderman than Forest Therapy, distinctly Pine and herbal with a dominant Lime note. This has been loved and sold at London perfume emporium - Les Senteurs for years. 

Make your own: I favour a combination of essentials oils of Spruce, Eucalyptus and Rosemary blended in a little fractionated Coconut Oil or a cupful of Epsom Salts. 

N.B: Since my discovery, Aromatherapy Associates have released a Forest Therapy wellness mist which is actually designed to be applied to the body (or spritzed into your surroundings). This might be an alternative for those concerned about safety as it features a lower concentration of essential oils. I haven’t had any reaction to the bath oil when applied to the body, just don’t put it on your face!

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