Amanda Feeley is a self-taught perfumer and the founder of Esscentual Alchemy, her line of natural perfumes. Amanda takes inspiration for her perfumes from many sources; the fine arts, mythology, music…
The three perfumes I’m reviewing today were inspired by The Gaian Tarot.

I don’t know much about tarot, and I don’t believe it can be understood by simply reading about it. For that reason, I did not attempt to reconcile my impressions of the perfumes with the symbolic images of the Gaian Tarot. My intention is to be objective, not dismissive of the perfumer’s intent.

The Hermit
The first time I dabbed the perfume on my skin, I smelled a subtle sweet powdery scent – so subtle, I wasn’t sure I could smell it. I tried the perfume again at a later date and still wasn’t sure. 

This was remedied by spraying the perfume. I’m not sure if Amanda’s perfumes are meant to be sprayed, but it brought the scent alive for me.

The Hermit opens with a vivid jonquil note and powdery sweet benzoin, reminiscent of the Wonka candies and scented dolls of my childhood. Tuberose and animalic notes tack on a few years, keeping The Hermit from becoming Baby New Year.

For me, The Hermit isn’t so much a perfume as it is a “trip”. I couldn’t spray it on and just go about my day – it takes me too far from the present. Best to just sit with The Hermit, and enjoy the past for a few hours.

Notes: Benzoin, Castoreum, Hyrax, Ambergris, Civet, Tuberose, Jonquil tincture

The World
I prefer this perfume dabbed but spraying showcases a breezy lavender note. The World smells of late summer, when the humidity hold the scents of grasses and wildflowers in it’s grasp.
As the herbal lavender note fades, the fragrance gains a little extra sweetness. Balsams add soft spice and vanilla-like notes that provide body, keeping The World from floating up, up, and away.
Despite the balsamic anchor, this is a ghostly perfume. It’s like catching a heady floral scent in the night air, a scent that came from out of nowhere. You sniff at the air greedily, wanting another hit of that scent, but it’s gone. A minute later, the scent floats up again. You inhale deeply…..
Notes: Tonka Bean, Hay, Tolu Balsam, Peru Balsam, Storax, Lavender
The Builder
I found The Builder very different in tone from The Hermit and The World. It’s bolder, warm blooded and firmly planted on the ground.
I applied this scent by dabbing. It’s quite strong so a little goes a long way. Upon application I first smelled geranium, a note I usually go out of my way to avoid, but in this blend it works for me. Camphor, more of a “tone” than a developed note, adds smoothness. It doesn’t smell medicinal but like medicines that contain camphor, The Builder prompts one to breathe the perfume in deeply and “open up”.
The pineapple tincture adds a dash of sweet funk and it blends beautifully with the floral notes. Patchouli and sandalwood add warmth, balancing the coolness of camphor.
The Builder reminds me of a boat builder I knew long ago. He never smelled of soap or cologne; he smelled of sweat and saw dust, a combination that left me spellbound. The Builder brought that old spell back to life!
Notes: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Geranium, Rose, Camphor, Jasmine, Pineapple Tincture/Hydrosol

If you would like to learn more about Esscentual Alchemy, I recommend popping over to EauMG to read Ajent Orange’s fantastic interview with Amanda Feeley.
Disclaimer: samples were provided by Esscentual Alchemy for reviewing.
Narcissus: Wiki Commons
Lavender at Sunset: photo by Jiyang Chen at Wiki Commons
Foggy Cove Dory: painting by Todd Bonita
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