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Liz Earle Botanical Essence Eau de Parfum No. 1

Liz Earle inspires an almost cult-like religious devotion among her beauty flock.  Products like Cleanse & Polish have been elevated to the Beauty Hall of Fame – and one of the key factors in their phenomenal success has always been the attractive botanical smells, because Liz herself is so ‘scent-aware’.  It was probably only a matter of time, then, before a fragrance came along – but oh, was it worth waiting for.  What’s fascinating about Botanical Essence No. 1 Eau de Parfum, though, is that in contrast to most fragrances, my experience is that almost everyone who smells this likes – or in many cases loves, loves, loves it – and finds it suits their skin as well as their taste.

I suspect that’s down to the high level of natural ingredients (they achieved 98% naturalness, but to have any chance of lasting on the skin needed some synthetics in there, too).  An obvious choice for ‘Chelsea Week’ – my celebration of floral fragrances – the first ‘hit’ is a breathy zoosh of uplifting citrus, highly reminiscent of Eau Sauvage’s lemony crispness.  (Bergamot and mandarin feature, too.)

Those will ‘o’ the wisp topnotes segue into a truly beautiful floral phase:  rose absolute, lavender, geranium – happy echoes of Quelques Fleurs, perhaps, or one of the great white flower classics.  OK, so the florabundance doesn’t last forever – but personally, I like the base notes best of all (and so often, that’s where other scents go pear-shaped and I find myself scrubbing at my wrists with a soapy nailbrush).

Here, you wallow in soft waves of patchouli, pencil-shaving-esque cedarwood, vetiver, tonka bean – all definitely appealing to my inner wood nymph.  What’s so refreshing is that it was created, not in response to some marketing brief, or to rival a brand leader in the scent world, or so that some chart-topping celebrity could put their name to a ‘juice’ – but first and foremost to smell beautiful.  (Involved in the creation was highly-respected industry figure Lorna McKay, who presided over the Harrods perfumery for years.  ‘Nuff said.)  If only the tradition of perfumery in 2010 was driven by sheer creativity in that way, the world would be an infinitely better-smelling place.  Meanwhile, Liz Earle fanatics (I count myself among that number) are keeping our fingers crossed for Botanical Essence No. 2.  Who knows when that’ll be?  (Or what?)  You can’t rush perfection.  But alas in this industry, plenty of people try…

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