One of my neighbours in my Yale dormitory is a severe pothead – pretty much every other day, the odour of burning weed fills the corridor where I live, its tendrils creeping along the walls rather insidiously. Whenever I step out of my room, I am hit by its smell like a sledgehammer on the head. Allow me this little gripe. I am by no means a moralizing prude, and don’t care what people do to their bodies so long as they do it just to themselves. But as luck would have it, I somehow get a migraine from the smell of weed, and so it really bothers me that said neighbour constantly smokes weed.
All of this blubbering about is really to serve as an exercise in contrasts with Holy Hemp!, which is a perfume inspired by the cannabis plant created by indie perfumer Amber Jobin of Aether Arts Perfume. Amber wrote to me late in December with the warmest of emails asking if I’d be interested in smelling the perfumes she has made. Now, I get some emails, usually from corporations, but these usually go along the lines of “This is the brief, please release it at so and so time”, whereupon I promptly ignore them because I am firstly, not in the business of posting perfume news, and secondly, not about to become anyone’s mouthpiece. Amber’s email was vastly different. It was warm, funny, and most of all, friendly. She was interested in getting to know more about me and to be friends through fragrance, which was a welcome change for once.
Needless to say, we struck up a pleasant conversation on email, and I agreed to smell some of her creations, absolutely no strings attached. Amber’s reply to my qualifier that I can’t make any guarantees about good reviews, or even any reviews at all, was perfect, and I wish more companies would do the same. I’ve reprinted it here just to show you how awesome she is:
“I’d love to share some samples of my perfumes with you, absolutely no strings attached. Use them, enjoy them, write about them if you wish. I value honest feedback and would hope for nothing less. It’s just as important to me to connect with a fellow fragrance lover and share some of what I do. If some press comes about, that’s just icing on the cake. Send me your address and I’ll pop some samples in the mail. If they don’t speak to you, feel free to pass them along to someone they are a better match for.”
How often do people talk about how important it is to connect with a fellow fragrance lover? Well I’m glad Amber reached out to me, and I’m most honored to have been able to try her fragrant creations.
I’ve chosen to review Holy Hemp! because that was the one which struck me as the most intriguing, given my distaste of my neighbour’s ever active chimney. Holy Hemp! is bittergreen upon application, with a rather spiky galbanum making its presence immediately known. It’s almost like walking through thick and dense foliage in a dark, humid rainforest. However, in contrast to the rather dank and musty smell that permeates my corridor, Holy Hemp! is infused with a fresh, ozonic mist that allows it to transcend mere imitation.
Holy Hemp! also brightens considerably as time passes through the novel use of incense, which allows for a meditative comtemplation of life rather than a mere drug-fuelled escape from life. Arriving at this stage was like coming upon a hallowed shrine in the middle of a clearing in said rainforest, and it was my favorite stage of all.
The drydown was softer and gentler, like the loving caress of a gardener touching his beloved plants. For me, Holy Hemp! was the standout of Aether Arts Perfume‘s 3 most recent releases, the latter of which include Love for 3 Oranges and Magic Mushrooms, which are nevertheless rather good in their own right.
My neighbour may be a pothead, but Holy Hemp! is my drug of choice.
~ The Smelly Vagabond
Do check out Amber’s Etsy page! Her fragrance oils may be on the pricey side, but I’ll assure you of their quality and uniqueness.
Do pop back in sometime soon if you’d like to read about Amber’s inspiration for these perfumes!