Tuesday, November 8, 2011

JoAnne Bassett Enchant Parfum: a Brave New Scent review

When autumn and winter weather takes its toll, there is a not so perverse pleasure into getting out the lush florals and the green scents from behind the screen and the books, and in pretending it's late spring all over again. In that frame of mind I spent this past weekend re-testing Enchant Parfum by all-naturals artisanal perfumer JoAnne Bassett.

Enchant was part of the Brave New Scents Project of the Natural Perfumers Guild, which we tackled here on Perfume Shrine a while ago. The perfumer claims to have composed this in a sort of epiphany, or rather "the poetry guided me into what to choose" (A.Huxley was the inspiration behind the project), but I think composing a fragrance with such contrasting notes takes more than just random luck. The happy scent of Enchant reminds me of JoAnne's favourite quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “ Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself. ”. It's no wonder she's residing at Cardiff by the Sea in California. The sunny skies and the lush surroundings around her can't but inspire an embracement of nature, even as she focuses on French-inspired scents with accompanying names recently, like Versailles, Madame Pompadour, Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette, Josephine, Napoleon and Malmaison...

Enchant is full of zesty aromas, natural lavender with its camphoraceous top note, very lush rose and jasmine on a bed of hypnotic florals. It oscillates between a sweetish, liqueur-like character (thanks to both rose and davana) and woody camphor, which makes it...well, interesting! It's difficult to classify conventionaly, as I smell both herbal/aromatic and floriental elements in it at the same time; it's quite complex, though it's clear we're talking about a unified composition, not a thing that breaks apart on the blotter within minutes (the bane of several artisanal perfumes). Like I said, I get mostly the camphoraceous-spicy scents (basil, lavender, patchouli), the woody murky (lots of vetiver to my nose) and the floral (lots of rose coupling with pink pepper that compliments it, champaca which is sweeter and jasmine which is extra sweet). This collage gives an uplifting effect, optimistic, and I admit that I didn't expect lavender to give me such apositive reaction: usually I find it either too fake (more vanilla than lavender, as in many functional products or "soothing" products) or straight-out medicinal out of the straight essential oils aromatherapy shelf. Here it's neither, hallelujah!
JoAnne talks a lot about how she gave a spiritual twist by choosing the oils and essences that go into it, but I find Enchant Parfum smells good no matter if you're into getting yourself in a pretzel-shape and humming Ommmm as your mantra or not; it just works!

Enchant is parfum concentration (36% compound) and it shows in its projection and tenacity. The photo on top depicts a limited edition crystal blown flacon for the parfum; I absolutely adore this photo taken by JoAnne Bassett herself and the presentation (notice those tiny bubbles)!

Notes for Enchant Parfum by JoAnne Bassett:
Rose de Mai absolute – the May Rose, expensive and rare oud or agarwood, sandalwood, exotic and costly osmanthus, sacred champaca and holy basil, yuzu, orange esences, butter co2, musky ambrette seed, davana, pink pepper tree, and high altitude lavender, the green note of galbanum, sensual jasmine auriculatum, copaiba balsam, vanilla tincture, and the dark and rich ruh khus vetiver, and dark patchouli in an organic jojoba oil base.

According to the perfumer, the oils that correspond to the Huxley quote are:

I want God: holy basil, oud, champaca,
I want poetry: osmanthus,
I want danger: vetiver, patchouli,
I want freedom: orange essences, yuzu,
I want goodness: rose, jasmine,
I want sin: ambrette seed
For more info, please visit the JoAnne Bassett site. 
You can also visit her blogs: Aromatic Journeys and JoAnne Bassett

Top photo by JoAnne Bassett, used with permission. Bottom photo by Margot Carrera


  1. Thank you for a beautiful review. I took the photo of Enchant at a local beach I enjoy.

  2. Lovely review, well done JoAnne! the composition sounds compelling and full of intrigue!

  3. WOW! Well done.

  4. JAB,

    you're welcome. I love your photo!! (and the LE bottles!)

  5. F,

    it's a complex composition, that's for sure.

  6. Denise,

    thanks for commenting! Try it out, if you haven't already.

  7. I know I'm late in commenting. I bought a sample set of the French fragrance collection. The juice lasted a few minutes and completely disappeared without a trace. I wonder if her other collections wear differently.

  8. TFC,

    not at all late. Thanks for commenting. Well, natural perfumes often have this problem. We've been spoiled with powerful synthetics that last for eons. Enchant lasts rather well for a natural. I don't know about the rest.


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