Honey & Beesewax Perfumes

Honey! Once revered and given spiritual protection, honey is the natural by-product of nature. Aside from my love of honey and bees, no month dedicated to gardens would be complete if I didn’t include at least one post dedicated to the glories of honey and beeswax.

In perfumery, beeswax absolute is one of the most animal-friendly ingredients, where trying to achieve a synthetic-animalic note can often lead to less expressive scents.  Below are only two examples of honey perfumes that I had to hand. I might be wrong, but it seemed like one focused more on beesewax, while the other surged on with honey notes…

 

Scentspy beehives amery court 2

 

Beeswax

Elie Saab “Le Parfum”, EDP

 

Scentspy honey elie saab

Soft spoken white floral

Nose: Francis Kurkdjian, 2011

Trials: 279

Bottle design: Syvie de France

Notes: Orange blossom; Jasmine, Gradiflorum, Sambac; Cedar, Patchouli; rose, honey accord.

 

Elie Saab’s first foray into fragrance materialised thanks to the nose of Francis Kurkdjian in 2011. What resulted was Kurkdjian’s vision of the sun’s strength, particularly when sunshine verges between gold and white thanks to its brilliant shine.

Theoretically, I can see what he means, and I can give way to ideals of euphoric golden light that can only be captured in turn of the century colour cinema, where gold fades to white in a second. Really it’s quite lovely.

Le Parfum opens bright, airy and quickly settles to a floral-honey mix. It’s rather Like white petals that have been coated with wax- they’re soft to touch and leave’s only the slightest impression on your skin. Add musk, and voila! They’re half their weight and elevated to a crescendo that doesn’t seem to realise gravity is holding it back.

Realistically, gold cannot transition to white without beaming through ochre and yellow tones first. When I really focus on le Parfum, it’s as if all the brilliant gold energy has been subdued, its power and strength muffled. I’m a little at odds with this perfume for a couple reasons. On one hand, I love neroli, jasmine, and it wasn’t too long ago that I happily clung to a sample of beeswax absolute claiming nothing had smelled so good. Furthermore, it’s a very well-crafted perfume, and I have nothing against its body per se.

On the other hand, it’s too pretty, and as we all know, pretty can be boring if it lacks passion. Sadly, Le Parfum fails to deliver the power of the sun, and only brings to life the slivers of white light at its farthest reach. Le Parfum had 279 trials before it landed on its now golden-white ticket. I think that’s probably 179 trials too much. For sure Kurkdjian is a master of the senses- there’s no doubt about it; however every perfectionist sometimes goes too far. Le Parfum is too safe, too polished, and I feel like it lost a bit of its soul somewhere along the line.. Its lovely, its pretty, but like I said, you can’t go from gold to white in a second… all the interesting stuff happens in the middle.

 

Honey

“Aqua Allegoria Flora Nymphia” Guerlain, EDT

Scentspy honey flora nymphia

Drunk bees in a maze of neroli

Nose: Thierry Wasser, 2010

Main notes: Syringa, orange blossom, honey.

 

It’s louder, perhaps less refined than Le Parfum, by far not the best from the line up of the Aqua Allegoria collection, and I’d hesitate before committing to it. However, I prefer Flora Nymphia because it has more presence. Maybe it’s because it feels less worked, but it just smells more… fun. There, I’ve said it- fun. The Allegoria series was created on the premise of only using a limited number of ingredients to create beautiful perfumes. Though receiving harsh critics, there’s something to them that makes me like Neroli Bianca, and even so far as to buy (on impulse mind- which I hardly ever do) Flora Nymphia.

As a fragrance, it’s a sugary, honey punch of a neroli. There’s no wax to soften it, and true to its inspiration, its all forms of honey-tinted-glasses. Everything about it has a gold glow.

There’s something about the sheer excess of honey notes that override neroli’s usual soft citrus delicacy. Consequently, this neroli has a charming weight to its presence, and with it more representative of warm sunshine. If you were after a fly-away indolic neroli, then I wouldn’t give up your search.

At times its sweetness does wear on one’s nerves, however in more carefree moments it’s just enough silliness to warrant a liking. I wore (can you wear perfume? I’m not sure, but I can’t think of better word, and well, you’know what I mean) Flora Nymphia during the winter, and I’d advise others to do the same. It’s too sweet for summer, and best when worn when you need a shield of armour against the cold, rain and premature darkness that descends our lives every year.

 


Cover image and the 2nd&3rd images used were created by Huda Jaber, of Scentspy.com

Image no.2 was taken by Jessica Atkins at Amery Court Farm, Canterbury, Kent.