Solstice Sents: Sea Of Gray (2017)


Originally published on  18 August, 2017


“Its clothes were black…the figure stood motionless, staring, staring out to sea.” (The French Lieutenant’s Woman) –John Fowles, 1969


Like the moody enigmatic wind-tossed seas in “The French Lieutenants Woman”, Perfumer Angela St. John’s newest creation for Solstice Scents, “Sea of Gray” is a stormy and ever-changing perfume that ebbs and flows throughout the wearing, and leaves me shaking, gasping, and yearning for more.

The very first offering in a new Solstice Scents Amber series called Light And Shadows that are olfactive renditions of the various qualities of light, Sea Of Gray is that certain diffused light in a sky full of clouds and rain; dramatic, roiling, constantly in motion, and a perfect mirror of the broad spectrum of human emotion. This is cold and dramatic Amber, primal, salt-drenched and extraordinarily beautiful. It is both haunting and immersive, one minute raging fury and the next a soft and quiet, lulling introspection. But just when you think you’re safe Sea Of Gray smacks you in the face with a vivid blast of Arctic saltwater and ozone, and off you go riding the tempestuous waves once again.

I have lived on or near the ocean my whole life (well except for three years in the Midwest, and even then I was a block from a lake). My mother called me her water-baby when I began swimming at age 2 and I have lived my life exploring coastlines, beaches, and caves. I lived on a sailboat for three years on the San Francisco Bay, and to this day still find solace and peace that turbulent or placid open waters provide in times of pending change or upheaval.

Sea Of Gray opens with a photorealistic smell of low tide and saltwater, kelp-covered sand and rocks, tide pools teeming with life. The ambergris accord is a sharp and meaty saline scent that borders on post-coital.

The slight hint of vanilla brings to mind the soft freshwater rain that mingles with the aquatic and metallic sting of the open ocean. This is the scent of meditation and storm-watching, sitting alone on blanketed sand and wrapped in wool sweaters watching the sea as it rages. The knowledge that whatever conundrums you may want to unravel pales in contrast to the vast and endless sea. It is calming to face a tumultuous ocean like that and remember that there is something so much bigger that you cannot control. It allows and provides scale and contrast to the now smallness of your thoughts and concerns.

Notes: Vanilla, rain, saltwater, seaweed, ambergris accord (vegan), white amber, roasted seashells, frangipani.

—Robert Herrmann, Editor

-Art Direction, Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief –all photos are from the 1981 movie The French Lieutenant’s Woman starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons 1981, and stills from the film location at The Cobb in Lyme Regis, U.K.

Editor’s Note: The official launch of Solstice Scents’ Light And Shadows is 7 PM EDT 8/18/2017. There has been such frenzy about Sea of Gray in particular that we encourage you to buy it, before it is sold out. Did you read about Angela in our Art of Artisan Perfume article? She is one of six women pioneers featured. You don’t want to miss her eloquence and honesty about her brand here.

Thanks to the generosity of Angela St John we have a draw as follows for a registered reader . So be sure to register if you have not done so.

USA ONLY: 60 ml Sea of Gray or Worldwide (out of the CON USA) 5ml of Sea of Gray

To be eligible please let us know what appeals to you about Roberts review of Sea of Gray, if you love amber or the sea, your favorite Solstice Scents fragrance, and where you live. Draw closes on 8/22/2017

We announce the winners only on our site and on our Facebook page, so like Cafleurebon and use our RSS feed…or your dream prize will be just spilled perfume.

4 thoughts on “Solstice Sents: Sea Of Gray (2017)

  1. I think I tick all the boxes! I love the sea, although the part of the Atlantic Ocean that is the Bay of Cadiz is pretty tame. I can hear the waves outside my window now, and I swim every day when the weather is good. I also love amber scents very much. The review made me think not only of The French Lieutenant’s woman, but also of a beautiful but depressing novel by John Banville, called The Sea. I’ve been looking for a sea smelling perfume since I broke my bottle of Côte d’Amour, a couple of years ago. Finally, my favourite Solstices are Estate Carnation and Manor, but I’m sure I’d love Sea of Grey. Oh, and I live in Spain. Thanks for the opportunity!


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