In one of my late night browsing sessions, I stumbled across House of Matriarch. I fell down the rabbit hole so to speak reading about each scent. I was so intrigued by some of the unique notes – can you say you’ve seen absinthe in a perfume before? Neither can I!
I received a sample pack of 6 fragrances, all of which dance along the floral or gourmand side. My first initial impression was that they were going to be good simply because I could already smell something yummy when I opened the package, thankfully not because anything had leaked but because they are such concentrated fragrances! The fragrances I received are Toukka Ta Tao, The Longing, Coco Blanc, Nouveaunille, Forbidden, and Twin Flame.
Toukka Ta Tao – the name alone sounds exotic and tropical! It’s a wonderful prelude to what follows. Ripe and juicy fruits tantalize the nose like mango and lychee. Those notes initially burst forth, but gradually take a back seat to beautiful frangipani flowers and puffs of jasmine petals. A warm breeze wafts salty air through the palm trees. This fragrance encapsulates all the best parts of a tropical vacation. It’s inviting, clean, and a hint sweet. This wears for a solid 6 hours on me before needing reapplication.
By far the longest lasting natural fragrance I’ve ever used is The Longing. This is one of the most yummy, decadent perfumes I’ve smelled in a very long time; it’s nicknamed the “neck nibbler” for good reason. It opens with a jammy plum note that quickly devolves into a rich, molten butter. The delicate white petals of jasmine, vanilla orchid, and narcotic neroli capture the heart before diving into the rich ambery base of vanilla and musk. When I say this perfume is long lasting, I’m talking a solid 12+ hours of noticeable wear time (even longer in my hair!) from one little spritz. The initial acidity of the fruit notes soften into a comfortable ambery warmth and envelops like your most loved leather jacket. It’s the perfect blend (in my opinion) of floral, fruity, and warm – like a big hug. The Longing is a constant compliment-getter on me…this could easily be my signature scent.
When I first sniff-tested the samples, I honestly thought Coco Blanc would be my favorite. It’s a beautiful, dry, vanilla gourmand, however it doesn’t stay on my skin long enough! This surprised me as it’s described as long lasting. Body chemistry definitely affects natural fragrances more so than synthetics, and this scent just doesn’t hang around on me. Coco Blanc is a complex vanilla scent that reminds me a bit of a vanilla martini. It also is supposed to have some chai spices in there, but they didn’t really come out on my skin. The dry down features ambrette which is a nutty, musk-like aroma which I really like. This fragrance is just all around classy and not overly sweet or floral. It’s a crisp, clean, vanilla-based fragrance, but I wish it wore longer on me.
A sweet surprise: Twin Flame. While this fragrance is predominantly comprised of floral notes, there is still a masculine component that balances it out beautifully. The star of the floral bouquet is chamomile, and I know you’re probably thinking of a delicate tea, however fresh chamomile has sweet fruit-like component. This combined with the ambrette seed (a nutty/musk scent) makes for a complex, clean sort of floral that maintains some heavier notes and wears all day. Upon immediate application, the champaca rang out. If you’re familiar with nag champa, it has a similar floral quality while being less incensy. The heart notes of magnolia also bring back a sense of nostalgia; we had magnolia trees in front of my house growing up and I remember playing with the big velvety blooms. This perfume brought a sense of comfort while wearing it. I did not expect to have such incredible longevity from this perfume, nor did I expect to fall in love with this one, but I did.
Swirling outlawed essences into an olfactory experience is where you find Forbidden. The opening notes are herbal and green thanks to absinthe; a hint of anise and fennel combine with wormwood for a truly unique topnote. A heart note of tuberose weighs heavy and waxy on the palate, but burns out quickly and drifts into a dense weave of pulpy papyrus. Little mushrooms pop in to add a note of dampened earth and grounding. The final notes are smooth and woodsy, even a little sweet. This is a fragrance that I enjoy, just not on me in particular. The opening and the heart notes are beautiful, but something about the final dry down just doesn’t sit well on my skin. It is a very idiosyncratic fragrance. This is why sampling is so important!
Nouveaunille is like butterscotch and caramel had a baby. It’s a very sweet, rich, vanilla-toned gourmand, but it wears extremely well on the skin. Notes of musk (cruelty free) add a clean and long-wearing component to this fragrance. The overall sweetness turns to sophistication with woodsy base notes and resinous myrrh. Hints of maple-like fenugreek sprinkled into the mix adds a unique twist. I really enjoy this on myself which surprised me a bit as I don’t usually go for something quite this overtly sweet! I also think on the right guy, this would also wear really well and the notes of oud would translate more masculine while still smelling scrumptious and sweet. Much like The Longing, this wears for a long time on me.
I am madly in love with House of Matriarch.
Yes, however, if you find the right fragrance for your body chemistry one tiny spritz is all you need. I highly recommend trying samples first to see how they wear on you. There’s also a points system which is massively helpful if you’re a fragrance connoisseur or working your way up to a bigger bottle.
As for me, I am placing The Longing in my cart, stat.
*These fragrances were kindly gifted for my consideration, all thoughts are my own.