www.eyelineronacatblog.blogspot.com said that if she ever had a signature fragrance made, she'd pick Liz Zorn to make it) but it was only recently through the excellent Nathan Branch that I found out she does ship internationally - see his post on Liz Zorn's Meerschaum and her new Pour Homme fragrances here: Nathan Branch on Liz Zorn. After a month or two of dithering (full bottle or sample of Underworld?) I went with caution and ordered a handful of samples from the Soivohle Absolutes range, egged on and helped by Carrie on Twitter.
There are Modern Naturals (100% natural ingredients) and Mixed Media (some artificial ingredients used) in the range, clearly set out in two separate categories. Liz Zorn is an artisan perfumer; her creations are intriguing, distinctive and sometimes challenging. I love that about them.
Underworld (Modern Natural) opens with some Sturm und Drang; coffee and clove notes lift darkly from the skin. It then evolves into a beautiful spicy floral jasmine-rose blend, resting gently on the vetiver and balsam in the fragrance base. My skin tames bigger naturals, so this is mostly a darkened floral on my skin, and the vetiver is more of a supporting act rather than taking centre stage. Underworld begins with Hades, but ends with Persephone on my skin.
I've been utterly infatuated with Underworld; a full bottle went straight on to my Christmas list and the other scent samples I ordered only got a look in when my Underworld sample was nearly finished (I'm saving the last couple of days' wear for days that really need Underworld).
The next sample I've moved onto is Love Speaks Primeval (Modern Natural). This is described as a classic chypre and I do get the bergamot-floral-oakmoss evolution of notes, but on my skin it's mostly about the botanical musks and the hyrax. When it's first applied the animalic hit is strong, even on my beast-fragrance-civilizing skin. It smells of not-quite-fresh sweat (you know how Napoleon allegedly told Josephine not to wash because he'd be home soon? That.) After the first few fox-in-a-hen-house moments, it smooths out into a warm, leathery musk note, the type of my-skin-but-better smell I love. Mr London particularly likes this one on me.
Soivohle fragrances have some serious longevity too; I can smell them at the end of the day and I don't need to hold my wrists to my nose to get wafts of the scent as I move.
The website is at www.lizzornperfumes.com.