Originally published on http://www.cafleurebon.com 17 June, 2017
Natural perfumer Anya McCoy has a new perfume, (her first since 2015’s Enticing), and like its namesake, Strange Magic, it is akin to a magical love potion, effusive, narcotic, and utterly enchanting. Intensely concentrated, two sprays were enough to make my head spin and my imagination soar to new and unforgettable heights.
When I finally came back to earth, it was in a fantasy moonlit leafy bower not unlike the magical location as described by Oberon in William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, a play I fell in love with and memorized cover-to-cover in fourth grade….
“I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;”
-A Midsummer Nights Dream, Act ll Scene 1, William Shakespeare
“Strange Magic is the first perfume to be composed of approximately 95% organic fragrant tinctures, and these tinctures reveal hidden colors in the flowers, leaves, and roots when placed in alcohol. I’ve tinctured for herbal purposes for forty years, and for perfume purposes for twenty years. It wasn’t until I dropped snow white Champaca flowers into alcohol a few years ago and saw the alcohol turn pink, then red, then dark red that I realized there were hidden secrets in some flowers – Strange Magic.” -Anya McCoy
Let’s start with the color, since the color of the tinctures and it’s hypermutable nature is so integral to the creation process and development of Strange Magic. In the bottle the liquid looks thick and lush, with an almost deep Imperial Topaz color; a golden brown shot thru with a near black blood-like vermillion. Like a luminous liquid dark chocolate: glossy, rich and unctuous. Once aerated through the spray it is colorless on the skin, but does show a very slight taupe tint on white cloth. The scent itself is quite linear and that’s an extremely good thing, you want this perfume to stay just as it is upon first application. Lush, intoxicating, an almost hallucinogenic surfeit of the white flowers which dominate and entice. White Champaca yes, but so much more when supported by creamy Ylang, indolic Jasmine, and a gardenia note that is simply breathtaking. In the first few minutes, the dusty hay and slightly absinthian bitterness of the chamomile mix with the sweetish and saline notes of the ambergris to lend depth and body to the abundance of florals.
Rich, fulsome, tropical and humid, Strange Magic has it all. In spades. A dazzling liquid incantation that shimmers and gleams as softly as the wing of a dragonfly. Nothing “Strange” about it actually. Just magic. Perfumed magic.
Notes and corresponding color: Chinese Perfume Tree: yellow flowers (Dark amber tincture), Orris: pale white rhizome (Bright coral, orange tincture), Chamomiles: white flowers (Blue oils when distilled), Gardenias: white flowers (Dark amber tincture), Jasmines: white flowers (Deep amber tincture (some, not all), White Champaca: white flowers (Crimson red to dark red tincture), Ylang ylang: yellow flowers (Olive green to dark green tincture), Cashmere Bouquet: white flowers (Deep red tincture), Vintage white ambergris from Vanuatu (Orange tincture)
Disclosure: Thank you so very much to Anya McCoy for supplying the sample. The opinions are my own.
-Robert Herrmann, Contributing Editor
-Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief