Scented Advent, December 12

The independent perfumer Advent sample of the day is Hiram Green’s Arcadia. Wowza! It is classified as an “aromatic fougère”, and it has a great opening, top-heavy with lavender and bergamot. As they settle down, the bergamot recedes but the lavender stays strong, joined and made more floral by the arrival of jasmine and rose accords. The notes list from the brand’s website is: Bergamot, lavender, jasmine, rose, spices, resins, tonka bean, aged patchouli, New Caledonian sandalwood. Hiram Green, who is a natural perfumer, also lists the actual ingredients, which include evernia prunastri extract, which is oakmoss. Be still, my heart! I love oakmoss in fragrances. Mr. Green says this about the fragrance, which he launched this year (2022):

For this perfume I was inspired by the natural splendour of Arcadia. In this idyllic, unspoiled wilderness babbling brooks meander through mountains covered in dense forests and the air is filled with the sound of humming insects and twittering birds.

Imagine the lush undergrowth that covers the forest floor. In areas where the sun manages to break through the canopy, fragrant flowers bask in the sunlight and their sweet scent intertwines with the fresh green smell of the foliage.

The base notes blend beautifully together. The spices are pretty subtle — definitely noticeable, but they don’t hit you over the head (or nose). Resins, tonka bean, and sandalwood provide warmth, and patchouli and oakmoss hum underneath. The drydown stage is where I think Arcadia smells most like a traditionally masculine fragrance, with the lavender still evident over those warm base notes. There’s a light dustiness to this stage, possibly from the oakmoss, that makes me think of motes of sunlight floating through the sunbeams that shine through Mr. Green’s Arcadian forest.

In fact, the whole fragrance makes me think of a particular forest: Ashdown Forest in England, famous not only for its woodland beauty but also as the landscape of Christopher Robin’s childhood idyll, the Hundred Acre Wood he shared with Winnie-the-Pooh and friends. Arcadia, indeed!

Sunlit woodland path in Ashdown Forest
Sunlight in Ashdown Forest, England; image from ashdownforest.com.

I’ve never been there, but I loved A.A. Milne’s books as a child; in fact, “Winnie-the-Pooh” was the first book I read by myself, shocking my parents at the age of four when I pointed to it and said, “I can wead that book.” And so I could, having taught myself to read, although I couldn’t pronounce Rs very well. One of my late mother’s cousins actually illustrated Christopher Milne’s memoir “The Path Through the Trees”.

I’m delighted with Mr. Green’s version of Arcadia and will put it on my “possible full bottle some day” list. Have you tried any of Hiram Green’s fragrances? Any favorites?

9 thoughts on “Scented Advent, December 12

  1. Ooh I’m jealous! I haven’t smelled anything new from Hiram green since Hyde – Vivacious, Vetiver and now Arcadia are on my sampling list. I have a travel spray of Shangri La – happily it has come back – a fantastic chypre. I also enjoy Arbole and Moon Bloom, wish I had purchased the travel sprays back when he offered them. I have serious doubts about my ability to use a full 50ml of a natural perfume before it goes off. Great review, maybe I’ll spring for the discovery set and then gift it to someone once I have sniffed the new offerings.

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    • Yes! All the ones you’ve mentioned except the new Shangri-La are in the discovery set, that’s what I have. I love Arbole and did get a bottle of that, but that’s a good reminder to use it up more quickly than some others.

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  2. This sounds really lovely. Unfortunately, Hiram Green’s fragrances don’t seem to do well on my skin. They dissolve into an unfortunate funk on my skin, which is sad, because so many people love them.

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  3. Speaking of unfortunate….. my bottle of Hummingbird finally arrived from Canada and it smells much different than I remember. It’s in Extrait form now and it’s so strong, too strong and very cloying. The lilac and muguet notes are gorgeous and the honey note is a good ballast, but the cherry and plum notes dominate in this latest version, making the drydown remniscent of Luden’s cherry cough drops. Nooo!!! I put it on eBay, so maybe it will make someone happy who wants a beast mode sweet cherry floral. I’m sad, but I’ve learned a lesson here. If I haven’t sampled something in the last year, I need to re-sample before buying a bottle. It’s easy to forget that so many perfume formulations have changed in the last few years, some not for the better.

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  4. Pingback: Notes on Notes: Oakmoss – Serenity Now Scents and Sensibilities

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