Monday, June 13, 2011

First Impressions: Wiggle Perfume & Sundries Part One

I'm going to break down my review of Wiggle Perfume & Sundries perfume oils into two parts, because I ordered a whopping 15 samples (!!) and am afraid that lands firmly into "high risk of TL:DR."

I requested:  Djuna, Anjali, Speakeasy Vanilla, Penelope, Hala, Carmilla, Valdosta, Mathilde, Maya, Orange Blossom Honey, Jasmine Verbena, Coconut Lotus, Mostly Magnolia, Nicosia, and Selene.

A plethora of perfume oils, roughly 1/2 my haul!

The proprietress, Nani, is such a dear--first, when I could not narrow down my choices to just 5, she happily set up a custom listing in response to my convo'd plea.  Next, after I placed my order, she noticed that my list of scents in the Notes to Seller for my "pick 15" extravaganza of sampling only contained 14 items and she sent me a convo to request what I wanted for the 15th instead of filling in the blank herself.

Then, when I received the package, my order included 2 extra samples that she sent along for fun!  Even better: the two freebies, Puanani and Selma, were an excellent match for the train of scented thoughts I had assembled for my sampler.  Puanani, in fact, wears so beautifully on me it just may be one of my favorites of the lot--and the lot are all excellent!

There's not a single one out of the set that put me off on first sniff in the vial, which is an achievement because I'm pretty fussy about my scents--and quick to decide if I like something or not.  My general practice has been to religiously avoid the miasmic mushroom cloud of fragrance that hangs over the beauty section of the local department stores, as it seems to always send me into a fit of sneezing (even if I didn't suspect a sensitivity on my part to many of the additives used as fixatives and fillers in perfumery, the sheer volume in these environments is enough to overpower you even if you are quickly passing through!).  Likewise, I've only recently discovered the "wall of fragrance" at my local Sephora, with its many containers of blank scent strips spaced conveniently throughout for more discreet testing.

Here are my first impressions of Wiggle perfume oils; they appear in no particular order and whether I've worn them or not is listed with each scent:

Hala--I had to get this because when I hear the word Hala I think of my hula: Pandanus, or Hala, is one of the major plants in hula--the "keys" are used in lei, leaves stripped for lauhala mats (which have a sort of sweetgrass scent to them), and the exotic hinano or Pandanus blossom that is memorialized in countless mele ipoipo or love songs.  This hits those memories dead on with a balance of fresh green and sweet floral with just enough ginger to give it both longevity and a nice sweet spice.  I love wearing this.

Selma--described as "a rich, grown-up, cocoa butter musk."  I have no idea what that means but I liked this as soon as I smelled it, since it reminds me of some kick-ass raw organic cocoa butter that I like to make my own lip balms and body creams with and that smells like heaven on earth.  I can pick up a bit of the honeysuckle sweetness and woodsmoke in the vial but suspect I'll have to spend more time with it--on the skin--to get the full effect.

Speakeasy Vanilla--this was recommended to me by my friend Ki, who knew of my agonized search for a vanilla I could love and oh, THIS IS IT.  Apparently my match in the realm of vanilla notes is the "bourbon vanilla," which to me makes up for all the buttery/creamy/sticky-sweet vanillas I've put up with to find this gem.  I didn't get an overpowering hit of "booziness" from this at all, just a lovely soft mature vanilla note rounded out with some delightful spicy incense (frankincense & bay rum) that kept the scent going all day (without smelling like my grandma) and a touch of understated amber and floral musk that really only teased in the vial but peeked out a bit more once I wore it.  I must pick up a full size of this.  Soon.

Photo courtesy of Wiggle Perfume & Sundries on Etsy

Carmilla--I spent at least a solid minute with this vial under my nose when I first received it, and then went back to it at the end of my initial "sniff test" because I just had to know what is that smell??  This one and Penelope remind me of cordials that I make--infusions of fruit, peels, and spices in either distilled spirits or wine.  In this case, I fell for the heady mix of sticky sweet black fig (which I love to eat, oh fresh California Mission figs, how I love thee...), red wine (I'd say like a nice spicy Zin but that might be the resinous Dragon's Blood note talking to me), and dark rose.  And I haven't even worn it yet.

Valdosta--another of Ki's picks from Wiggle, this was one I was not sure about, since the description sounds heavily floral and "peach nectar" was always more my sister's signature scent rather than my own.  I was pleasantly surprised upon opening the vial to find a lovely subtlety to the peachiness and a nice balance of floral notes that reminds me of my back garden in the spring when my honeysuckle, jasmine, and orange tree are all blooming at once.  This continued on the skin, lasting through a cool day at the office and only conquered by a sweaty 3 hours of hula practice in the evening.  Full size?  Yes and I think I'll send one to my sis as well...

Anjali--Nani says in the description that she "stumbled across this scent quite by accident," and a happy accident it is!  This one mellows one of the notes I love to hate--amber--with some of my favorites: coconut, carnation, jasmine, and clove.  The overall effect can be "incensy" which might put some folks off, but I'm loving this both in the vial and on the skin.

Mathilde--another scent I wasn't sure I'd like, but I was intrigued by the description, which noted elements of lavender (one of my favorites but I'm picky about what kind--I want the perfume to remind me of the lavender in my garden, which is completely lovely, soft and powdery, and not sickening at all), black pepper, and vanilla.  I wondered how these would go together with the citrus note and not clash.  In the vial, I picked up the pepper and--yes!--powdery lavender and was surprised at how these notes blended with sweet citrus (blood orange) and a mellow sort of vanilla.  I have yet to see how this will mesh with my personal chemistry.

Last for this post is Maya, which, like Selma, is built around cocoa as a focal point.  This scent reminds me more of semisweet chocolate--it's a bit more cocoa and less creamy--and in the vial at least had only a hint of the spices and woods from the description.  A nice scent, though I liked Selma better, and since I hadn't worn it I sent it to a friend who was on a tight budget but wanted to try some Wiggle.

How about you my wonderful readers?  What are your experiences with Wiggle?  I'd love to hear your story!



Part Two is next ;)

Disclaimer:  All content is my own opinion only and should in no way be construed as a paid endorsement or representation of any companies or blogs named.  I receive no compensation whatsoever from any makeup or other companies/blogs named/linked to in my posts for my looks or reviews.  All of the products used in this review I paid for with my own money (my hubby wouldn't have it any other way, lol!), except for Selma, which was a free sample.  I just like to have fun with all the pretty pretty scents...