“Translating Emotion into Olfactory Excellence through their exquisite range of New Zealand made Fine and Home fragrances.“ The mission statement for The Virtue rings so very true. The emotive feel and stories to follow had us from the moment we undid the beautiful fabric bag these charming vessels arrived in.
We receive a lot of beauty and fragrance PR packages here at the Together Journal office, which is a privilege (as well as a sign that our hard work is paying off and we are producing popular and engaging beauty content). Still, not many arrive that are quite as beautiful and thoughtful as this, and with such a charming narrative to support.
We know The Virtues founder Brooke Lean and have worked with her from afar over the past five years, accepting her beautiful photographic submissions as well as having the privilege of selling Together Journal in her store and studio space, also named The Virtue. After unwrapping this beautiful collection of fine fragrances, it was no surprise to find that Brooke was the talented force behind such an evocative collection. She has leveraged all of her skills to make something that genuinely has her signature across all seven scents, their stories and the accompanying visuals.
There are seven fine fragrances, and I thought it best to break them down into groups. First, we have IRIS and 1987, the two heady florals of the collection. I have to be honest; I’m generally not one for florals; I mainly find them too sweet, too frilly and well, just too flowery. However, these florals are different. Top notes of Bergamot anchor the IRIS fragrance, it contains neroli (a personal favourite – even though I just said I don’t like florals), and at the base, you will find sandalwood and vanilla. It’s like Spring had a sexy makeover.
1987 is a white floral lovers dream. The Jasmine, Tuberose and Gardenia hit you with a hard nostalgic blow making fleeting memories of warm summer nights and forgotten summer flings flash before your eyes. This is another floral proving me wrong. Maybe I do like florals, but I just hadn’t found the right ones?
CASTRO, CIENFUEGOS and LA HABANA
Next, I have grouped the three fragrances with top notes of Tabacco. CASTRO, CIENFUEGOS and LA HABANA.
Let’s start with CASTRO, the boldest and most intoxicating (must be the dark rum?) of the three. It’s masculine and smokey but with a touch of violet, iris and musk to keep things interesting. I’m thinking of giving this one to my husband with my ulterior motive being to wear it myself combined with HOLY SMOKE for a slightly more feminine touch.
CIENFUEGOS The most unusual of the collection but I am finding after wearing it for several days it is rapidly growing on me. Cardamon, coriander, liquorice and aniseed are the spices that make up this scent. And they are paired with iris, patchouli, amber, musk and of course tobacco as mentioned above. There is a lot going on in this fragrance, and it takes time to get to know it. But once you do, I think you will rather like it, and you won’t find anything else quite like it.LA HABANA Smokey but sweet with a hint of ginger, likely from the Tonka bean and Amyris. And then there is a sharpness to follow, which reminds me of wine. Perfect for moody nights out.
The final two, grouped together not because they are alike but because they are both so different and intriguing.
I was instantly drawn to BACK BEACH as I am a beach girl at heart. BACK BEACH has a freshness, it smells like the outdoors, and maybe it’s a form of placebo from the name, but it does make me think of and long for the beach (side note: I’m 100 days deep into the Auckland lockdown, so the beach longings are strong!). It’s calming and sensual and the perfect mix of saffron, rose nutmeg, sea salt, bergamot, plus a few others. This one is coming on holiday with me.
HOLY SMOKE The most startling of the seven. It has daring sharpness. The cinnamon and cherry hit first; then it dries down to reveal a more grounded base where the oakmoss and amber shine through. It’s fruity and feminine at first but perfectly tethered by its base notes.
Each fragrance arrived, paired with its own photographic image to reflect the feeling and the mood of the scent. The details are part of the magic.
It’s hard to pick a favourite! Hand on heart I have fallen in love with all seven and I love the way each different one makes me feel but if I had to give you two, right now I would choose 1987 and CASTRO – But with the change of season and feeling, I could very well change my mind in the future.
To see more of this Fine Fragrance collection visit THE VIRTUE