Thursday, 5 September 2019

STONE and HONEY BADGER by Yates Perfumes

There are times when you feel as though you’ve read about every possible journey into the world of perfume and then, out of nowhere, you are confronted with the most incredible career change story. It’s always fascinating to discover the direction that perfumers took before they entered the industry but I wasn’t prepared for the incredible twists and turns that led to Melissa Hale launching Yates Perfumes in 2010. With an apothecary feel to her creations and an uninhibited style that presents itself as fearless, it’s time to visit Lakewood Ohio and be bewitched by her evocative Stone and Honey Badger fragrances.

Melissa Hale studied Nuclear Medicine and was rightly proud when she achieved her Bachelor of Science. She went on to work as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist for thirteen years but there was something missing. Melissa told me that she’d always had a love of perfumes and scents but it still came as a shock to many when she decided that this was to be her new career. Many hours of reading, researching, and blending were required to turn her passion into a business but, nine years later, she is now reaping the rewards of that dedication with a very impressive collection.

Melissa decided very early on that she wanted to move away from the traditional alcohol perfumes and, instead, blend into coconut oil. Now, you can’t just put the same blend into oil as you would into alcohol because they act in different ways. So, alongside studying perfumery, Melissa also had to explore the way that scent develops in both mediums. Another early decision was that she would use a mix of both natural and synthetic ingredients. She wanted to use as large a palette as possible and, with the exception of one specific natural collection, all of her fragrances benefit from this mixed approach.

One of Melissa’s ranges is based on Spirit Animals and consists of Orca, Spider, Dragonfly, and Honey Badger. It’s the fourth one that I was particularly drawn to and it perfectly demonstrates the pull between piercing and potent. Honey Badger opens with an arrestingly green and earthy blend of tomato leaf and galbanum before this almost forest-floor quality is joined by a delicately woody aspect, thanks to the inclusion of an ingredient called iso e super. However, before you can become too comfortable, an animalic note of civet arrives and marks its territory with those famously faecal and rose nuances.

Also available from the company is a series of Natural Perfume Oils, this time consisting of Hawthorne, Acadia, Amelia, and Stone. Now, creating abstract scents without synthetics is incredibly difficult but Melissa manages it beautifully with Stone. Initially you’re greeted with an uplifting lemon but, very quickly, an earthy vetiver starts to come through. However, it’s the pairing of oakmoss and cedarwood that seems to give a real impression of minerality to the scent. There’s also a feeling of peppery coldness and so the dry down remains wonderfully crisp and elegant. Stone is a glorious example of the meeting of artistry and inspiration.

For more information about Yates Perfumes you can visit the website at yatesperfumes.com where Honey Badger is priced at $13 for 5ml and Stone is priced at $25 for 10ml. [Samples provided by Melissa Hale]

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