Beth is an author-turned-perfumer from Virginia and sells her creations under the name of “Apothescary Scents” on Etsy. Browsing through her fine collection which currently counts 17 items you can see how much her love of ghost stories, legends and literature in general influences her perfumery.
Beth’s perfume oils contain organic rice bran oil as carrier and carefully selected essential oils. Every scent is handcrafted, including the beautiful typewritten labels. Although her selection is rather small, it’s really difficult to decide on just one or two scents to buy. If I could, I would have bought each and every one of them! Anyway, here’s what I eventually settled on:
Smoke & Mirrors and Spirit Cabinet
Both Smoke & Mirrors and Spirit Cabinet belong to the Victorian Séance Collection and do really summon the ghosts of bygone days.
“[During the Victorian Age,] along with this fascination of all things spiritual came the charlatans and frauds preying on those with open minds. All sorts of tricks and deception were employed to mimic spirit communication during séances, so one had to be very careful of smoke and mirrors. […] SMOKE & MIRRORS Perfume Oil channels that darker side of the Victorian séance. Its deep and sultry scent is an exotic blend of smoky nag champa, earthy cedar, and a base of rich sandalwood.”
Alright – I have to admit that I in no means know how to professionally describe scents ( I recently caught myself saying “a fresh and sporty scent that they would sell in blue packaging” …). Well, I like my perfumes “dark” and Smoke & Mirrors definitely is the darkest I own now. It reminds me of the incense-filled air at that one Goth shop in my university town where I bought my very first “goth” dip skirt made of black lace and that had little bells at the tails (although I don’t wear this skirt anymore, I cannot part with it either). I remember returning home and opening the shopping bag, and the smoky odor would fill my room. I still love to burn incense in our home, and nag champa, cedar and sandalwood are one of my favourite scents. This perfume allows me to take this homely scent with me wherever I go.
“One way for mediums practicing spirit communication to gain the trust of those participating in the séance was to lock themselves away inside a custom-made wooden box called a spirit cabinet. Confined inside these boxes, mediums were supposedly prevented from pulling strings, ringing bells, or performing other trickery during the sessions. SPIRIT CABINET Perfume Oil captures the dark, mysterious atmosphere created by the rich woods of a spirit medium’s unique position during a séance. A deep and earthy base of ginger and patchouli is warmed by the haunting scent of clove. Rosewood and lemon top the fragrance with a veil of citrus-infused sweetness.”
To me, Spirit Cabinet is an extraordinarily spicy scent. However, on my skin it appears not as spicy as when smelling the bottle, and the other components filter through. It’s different from any other scent I own so far, but I like it very much. While I think of many smoky and earthy perfumes as scents rather suitable for the colder seasons, I find that the exotic notes of Spirit Cabinet are very suitable for sticky hot summer nights.
Beth writes that before she turned her perfumery into a business, she used to work in a book shop.
“The soft vanilla base, the woodsy heart, and a dry, smoky hint of leather in the scent of old books contain the magic to evoke memories of limitless stories and fairy tale endings.”
Old Books is Beth’s attempt to capture this fragrance in a bottle. And she succeeded! Though the perfume smells much more intense than the faint smell perceived when sniffing an old book, it definitely radiates the overall charm of those book shops that come with cracking hardwood floors, precious leather-bound editions and dusty spines. I think that instead of placing this perfume next to all my other scents in my bedroom, I might prefer placing this one on my bookshelf, right in the section where I keep my beloved antique editions!
Apart from the Old Books scent, the Literary Classics collection by Apothescary Scents also features fragrances named after Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson.
Furthermore, there is a Spellbound collection as well as a line of fragrances called Black Forest, “inspired by the most frightening fairy tales and legends from the region”. Although I had to take a pass on these for the time being, I’m sure to come back and finally get them another time.
ADDENDUM: Beth just let me know she launched a new collection of scents: Baleful Blooms – “inspired by Victorian and Edwardian Poison Gardens”. Perfect for summer!
Make sure to pay Beth’s Etsy story Apothescary Scents a visit. There is also a Facebook page for Apothescary Scents. If you’re interested in perfumery, you may also like to check out these blog posts on Vala’s Enchanted Perfumery, Exosceletons, and Lvnea.
~ Lisa v. D.