Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review: Aqua de Luna "Petits by Tatyana" - Botanical Solid Perfume

Not long ago, I was contacted by Aqua de Luna, which is an independent company that produces perfumes. It was formerly located in California, but recently relocated to Maui, Hawaii. Somehow, they found my blog and asked if I'd like samples of their latest offering: Petits by Tatyana.

Normally I like regular perfumes in their regular liquid spray bottles. But I realize the value of a good solid - particularly when traveling by air without wanting to check baggage. Needless to say, one quick browse of Aqua de Luna's Website and I was instantly intrigued.

About Aqua de Luna
After a quick Google search, I discovered that this seemed to be a real indi company, that had a year long absence from it's Facebook presence. I asked Stefan, Tatyana Shapiro-Leiste's husband, who contacted me about his wife's Petits about the long absence. He said that they chose to move to Hawaii for the "rich nature", citing that 11 out of 14 climate zones are available to them so nearly anything can grow there. Sounds inspiring.

About Petits by Tatyana
Tatyana, I am told by Stefan, has a "passion for essential oils and flowers". Out of that grew an interest in creating an alternative source for personal fragrance.

These cute little solid perfumes are the first perfumes that are produced on Maui (according the press release I received). They are also reportedly 100% natural. The delivery mechanism is Shea Butter rather than beeswax or other fillers commonly used for solid perfumes. They are 100% Vegan and Gluten-Free (though I was not aware that was a concern for perfumes).  As a traveler, I'm interested in solid perfumes. Liquid gets really difficult sometimes, especially for short trips when I'm not packing luggage and flying.

Going into this review I expected the following things based on what I read in the press release:
  • That the perfumes would be SOLID - most solid perfumes I've tried have been the type where you swipe your finger across the top and you barely see a dent.
  • That these perfumes would be pungent - Essential oil, in my experience usually means "strong fragrance".
  • At least one of them would cause me to sneeze uncontrollably - Essential oils do this to me. More so if they are floral. 
With that in mind... here are the scents and what I thought of them:

Ancient Spirt
Description from press release:
"Ancient Spirit is a mélange of ancient sacred scents, a unique combination of well known essential oils used in the ancient world. Connect your spirit with these sacred oils!
Ingredients: Frankincense, Agarwood, Galbanum, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Labdanum, Cedar, Cassia, Lily, Jatamanshi, Palo Santo in pure Shea butter."
My Experience with Ancient Spirit
When I first smelled Ancient Spirit in it's pot I was taken aback by the bitterness and woodsy smell. It was interesting, but not necessarily something I liked. When I put it on my skin, immediately it reminded me of the smell of a rain forrest (my only experience being the forests of Belize), but more like if your nose was to the ground. However, after a couple of hours the initial impact wore off and I began to smell some earthy sweetness that was pleasant. The scent itself was never overwhelming - you'd have to get very close to smell this one on the skin.

The texture on this one was so squishy! My finger sunk right into the "solid" perfume. Spreading it on the skin was almost gritty. I would have thought it was a moisturizer sample if I hadn't been told it was a solid perfume.

Bamboo Forrest
Description from press release:
"Bamboo Forest, lush green airy scents, inspires to take in the rich green floral fragrance of a healthy nature. Happy dreams come true by enjoying the vibrant colors of the mystical bamboo forest as only found like that on Maui.
Ingredients: Cedar Atlas, Lemon Rosewood, Parsley, Pine, Palos Santo, Orris, Oakmoss, Mimosa with pure Shea butter."
My Experience with Bamboo Forrest
If Ancient Spirit reminded me a bit of a rain forest with my nose to the ground, this reminds me of the rain forest in late morning, early afternoon after it has rained. The first thing that I can smell immediately is the Pine, with a little of the Cedar. The parsley is there as well as just a hint of Rosewood. It's simply fresh. My hope for this perfume is that the scent is translated into a shower gel or a bar soap for the bathroom, maybe even a lotion. It is perfect for rainy humid days meant for lounging around and feeling clean and beautiful. The initial scent is strong, but it dies down quickly. It actually dies down faster than Ancient Spirit. Seriously... this would be lovely as a lotion and shower gel.

In terms of texture, my finger didn't sink in quite as much as it did with Ancient Spirit, but again... something was off. This was not "solid". I have the feeling I ended up using a lot more product than I was meant to because of this.

Blue Light
Description from press release:
"Blue Light consists of sensual fragrances from sacred flowers well known since centuries. Unusual and rare to find it comforts your skin and the air around you. Simply beautiful all day long!
Ingredients: Blue Lotus, Pikake (Jasmine), Sandalwood and Palo Santo with pure Shea butter."
My Experience With Blue Light
The scent is very floral. The jasmine notes are heavy and the sandalwood is light. It might just be the Dayton allergy season, but the second I put this on I started sneezing and getting a runny nose. It's a shame because it is quite a lovely, beautiful scent. It is still clean and fresh smelling but as a floral rather than the more woody Bamboo Forrest. In terms of potency and length of smell, this one was more potent to me - I can smell it without putting my wrist directly up to my nose. But it's not overwhelming.

Ah ha! A "solid" solid perfume! The texture of Blue Light was much more what I expect from a perfume solid. No more gooey fingers! Thank you!

Maui Aloha
Description from press release:
"Maui Aloha includes memories from paradise, fragrances that reminds you every day of Maui's beauty and welcoming nature. Carry a piece of Aloha on your skin and each day will bring you joy and happiness.
Ingredients: Tuberose, Pikake (Jasmine), Neroli (Orange Blossom) with pure Shea butter"
My Experience With Maui Aloha
This scent is DELICIOUS!  It's a wonderful floral. The jasmine doesn't overwhelm like in Blue Light. Maui Aloha smells more blended. I appreciate the fruity neroli undertones, in particular. It's that smell that really reminds me of island life and the beach. Maui Aloha is also very feminine, if you're looking for a girly perfume.

Oh dear, back to the soft texture again. It's not as soft as Ancient Spirit, but it's not the solid feel I had with Blue Light.

Pink Shadow
Description from press release:
"Pink Shadow is a homage to the fragrant flowers of Hawaii. Always used to inspire the beautiful woman from the ancient Hawaii. Enjoy this combination and feel the spirit of Aloha on your skin.
Ingredients: Hala Flower (Hinani), Lokelani (Rose), Lemon Balm,  Ylang Ylang with pure Shea butter."
My Experience with Pink Shadow
Wow! Out of all the scents this is by far the nicest of the floral scents. The flower is not strongly rose - but it's a unique rose. It was a little fruity. It dries down to almost only the Ylang Ylang, very woody. That's really a shame because it takes only a couple of hours to dissipate. Pink Shadow was had the least amount of wear time for me (about 2 hours) before even I could not smell it.  I was also surprised to find that it did not set off my allergies. Rose-based florals usually have the "runny nose" effect with me.

The consistency was nice, however, being more like a traditional solid.

Cost of Petits by Tatyana
Each tin is 0.35 oz. You can obtain the entire set for $45.95 (regularly $64.75) or individual scents at a cost of $9.95 (regularly $12.95). The Aqua de Luna site gives two prices, as though there is a sale.

As a collection of scents, there is a variety and probably something everyone could like -  including a couple of scents that might be considered androgynous, like Ancient Spirit and Bamboo Forrest. I was not happy with the "consistency inconsistency" (Pink Shadow and Blue Light really felt solid while my finger sunk into a gritty goo in Ancient Spirit ). For the price I would hope that there would be more consistency in terms of texture and that the scent would last longer than it does. I do not mind that every scent is light - these are great for someone who wants to only be smelled when someone is up close.

Bottom Line
In terms of scent, my picks are Bamboo Forrest, Maui Aloha and Pink Shadow. You can pass on Ancient Spirit. I would consider repurchasing Bamboo Forrest and Pink Shadow but I do have concerns about the texture.

Really wish these had been sheered down and put into a shea butter moisturizer. Particularly Bamboo Forrest!

The Aqua de Luna products was furnished to me by the company for the purpose of review. I was not paid to provide this review, and have provided my honest opinion of the product. I am unaffiliated with Aqua de Luna.

Images are from the Aqua de Luna website.