I first saw Urban Forest Perfume Co. while perusing Instagram for natural perfumes. Finding natural perfumes has been no picnic, especially ones in a spray format vs. a roll on. I was fortunate to have the luxury of sampling these beautiful fragrances, and let me just say, it was love at first whiff. They are all completely different in nature, and so, so beautiful.
Originally, I was most interested in Magic; a rose scent with a base of vetiver. Rose fragrances are often very powdery in nature which is a turn off for many! I want a rose perfume that smells like it came fresh out of a garden with a hint of acidity and dewiness! Magic relies heavily on vetiver notes to fulfill that principle. Vetiver is known to be very grounding in nature: it’s like patchouli and sandalwood had a baby, minus the herbacious hippie component. It definitely has a cool, more masculine tone, so paired with rose it creates a very interesting blend! This is definitely not your grandma’s rose perfume. I find on me, the vetiver rings out strong, with a hint of rose. This is a reminder that beneath those velvety petals, that beautiful rose still has thorns. Enchanting and a little bit dangerous.
If I could imagine the fragrance a Bond Girl would wear, it would probably be Bootlegger. Picture a party that’s still buzzing into the early morning with a glamorous woman in a long silk gown, sipping cognac and her dark eyeliner smudging just so- you’ve met Bootlegger. This fragrance is not timid or fruit filled for little girls; It’s robust and unapologetic and likes to hang with the boys club. This fragrance is warm in nature like an amber perfume, but is much more complex like an oak whiskey cask and tobacco leaves. Perhaps it’s just me, but I detect a hint of orange peel. This reminds me of Tom Ford Black Orchid in character because of the warmth: minus the floral notes. Sophisticated, bold, and decadent.
Perhaps the most surprising of the bunch- Espiritu. It’s described as citrus and tuberose, and I wasn’t expecting to love this perfume because I personally am not a big fan of ‘citrus’ perfumes. They tend to smell overly sweet or sour on my skin which isn’t my cup of tea. Upon the first spray, I paused…definitely not what I expected. The citrus component wasn’t a burst of lemon verbena or sickly sweet oranges, it was much more subtle, like a boozy gin (in the best way). Crisp, but not dominating. Tuberose also can overpower a floral fragrance, but the citrus top-notes balance it so well! The two intermingle seamlessly creating an intoxicating floral that’s unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before. It’s elegant without smelling like a bouquet of white flowers, intriguing, and leaves a hint of mystery in it’s wake. I love this perfume.
More from the maker herself: a quick Q & A with Sara Phillips
L: How did you get into perfumery and what are some of your inspirations?
S: I’ve been passionate about perfumes since I was a child, but I worked in the green beauty industry throughout my 20’s (various companies like Lush, Aveda, The Body Shop) and I loved the plant essences used in their products. I started making my own blends, and with the encouragement of an entrepreneur friend of mine, I decided to take a chance at selling. My first pop-up shop, I sold everything! It was a total surprise and here we are almost 2 years later. I draw inspiration from everywhere; the way people smell in passing on the street, hiking out in the woods, or sometimes I have a story in my mind from history (for example, the 1920’s prohibition era-the inspiration for Bootlegger). I think about how this person would smell…it contains oak wood, which is the key type of wood whiskey barrels are made out of, a little tobacco, and cedar wood from Virginia.
L: Love this! Does Bootlegger contain a hint of orange or am I imagining it?
S: It’s lime! That ingredient is a tribute to a cocktail called a Rickey which was created here in D.C. back in the 1880’s.
L: I love that you pull from history for your fragrances! Your attention to detail definitely shows in the quality of your perfumes. Are there any other little tidbits like that woven into your scents?
S: Thanks!! Espiritu was inspired by my trip to Tulum, Mexico, and Magic is dedicated to my dad, who has been a performer since he was a teenager. It’s his passion like perfumery is mine.
I absolutely love Urban Forest Perfume Co. and have no doubts this line will continue to release strikingly unique, beautiful fragrances.
*I was gifted these samples.