coa was born from a desire to encapsulate and create ritual
The ceremony part of this definition evokes to me a sense of consciousness – there is an awareness about what you are doing and why. The application of perfume can be a similarly conscious ritual, for you can carefully select a scent that either reflects or changes your mood, a scent that might set a tone for the following hours or even mark an occasion.
Applying your scent can be a ritual that allows you a moment to yourself – not just with your thoughts, but also your body, as you choose where to apply – behind the ears, pulse points, backs of knees or ends of hair, carefully massaging into your body with intention & presence.
With ritual in mind I selected several materials I have been waiting to use. A beautiful cocoa absolute (Grasse) with soft and sweet powdery notes; an organic coffee co2 extract (Italy) that smells exactly like freshly ground beans; a dark and mysterious porcini absolute (Italy), which out of the bottle has a delicious earthy saltiness – almost like marmite(!); and a sustainably harvested Palo Santo (Ecuador) essential oil.
For each of these ingredients there is a story, a ritual.
For me the smoke of Palo Santo (holy wood) reminds me of yoga studios, of being in the presence of people on a spiritual journey where they are seeking to drop deeper into truths. Traditionally Palo Santo is used to purify or clear space, and some say it can cultivate sacredness. I’ve read that this practice originates from the Incan tradition. The wood used in the distillation of this particular essential oil was sustainably harvested from the forest floor, gathered as ‘deadwood’ and remade into precious liquid.
Coffee is a common ritual for many of us today. Whether it factors into the flow of our mornings, or marks meetings with friends or loved ones, pausing & consciously drinking a cup of coffee is a wonderful thing. And what a delicious familiar scent it offers us. After midday when it becomes too late for me to drink coffee I start longing for the morning again. Luckily, there’s always another less than a day away.
Cocoa may not be involved in any of your rituals, but it is in mine! Chocolate is my ritual of indulgence, celebration and joy – one where I thank the earth for the lusciousness that she creates. Savouring slow, locally made and sustainably grown cocoa is even more rewarding. We are also finding more often the offering of ‘cacao ceremonies’, which joyfully invite us to open our hearts and connect to earth mama, ourselves and each other. Some of my favourite cacao comes via Mamamuti.
There is a magic and long standing ritual of gathering food at certain times of the year. Porcini mushrooms may be collected more commonly in Europe (though I believe they can be found in Canterbury too), but the essential process of foraging is one we can all relate too. This savoury gourmand note alludes to those early mornings in the forest, hunting for treasures risen from the ground.
Making coa took a long time – balancing the heavier notes with those more light and erasing the seams of each component was particularly challenging. The end result needed to rest for several months in order to be sure that the powdered flatness of the cocoa absolute didn’t dampen the whole blend, or that the sharp edges of the Palo Santo had time to soften and melt into the more caramel textures of the resins used for the base of this perfume. I’m happy with the result, and I hope you find it to your liking too.
Coa combines the stories of these materials, the rituals within them, and forges a new tool which I invite you to use with awareness in the moments of your life that need more space, clarity and reverence for what is around you.
Full ingredients of 1st edition are as follows;
porcini absolute (Italy), peru balsam (El Salvador), coffee bean extract (Italy), organic juniper berry (Nepal), vetiver (Haiti), palo Santo (Ecuador), cocoa absolute (France), labdanum (Spain), vanilla (Madagascar), benzoin (Sumatra), sweet orange (Italy), organic jojoba (Argentina), organic sunflower oil (USA).
Dark Chocolate – Salt Air – Palo Santo – Roast Coffee
A decadent gourmand scent with a bittersweet opening of crushed coffee beans & a caramel sweet thread, followed by a soft & smokey unfolding of heart notes, starring a chocolately porcini absolute paired with sustainably sourced palo santo. Fades to a long-lingering warm, slightly salted toffee dry down on the skin.
Scent: decadent gourmand, bittersweet