An Enchanting New Fragrance from Providence Perfume Co.

Charna Ethier's Moss Gown triggers thoughts of an enchanted forest, which is no surprise, considering the perfumer's inspiration was a children’s book with the same name.


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Photo by Daniel Gagnon; accessories by House of Cach.

I don’t usually wear perfume, mostly because it gives me headaches, but I recently experimented with an all-natural fragrance to see if it made any difference. Providence Perfume Company is a local perfumery created by Charna Ethier, and she blends exotic and unusual ingredients found in nature for her signature aromas. The one I spritzed is Moss Gown, recently nominated for a 2013 Indie Fifi award, the Oscars of Perfume, by the Fragrance Foundation. It has a wonderful earthy, woodsy scent that elicits thoughts of fairy tales and gallivanting in enchanted forests. A $12 sample can easily last you a few weeks of daily wafting, while a full bottle has a shelf life of two to three years.

Moss Gown is made with botanical essences, including green moss, cedar moss, taffeta petals and sandalwood, as well as sunflower and mimosa. Additional notes include Tasmanian boronia, rose, lilac, coffee flower and violet leaf. That’s a lot of expensive, hard to find ingredients for one perfume, but the natural botanicals take the place of any synthetic chemicals that are found in more mainstream fragrances. Thus, I avoided any headaches.

The name for the fragrance triggers thoughts of an enchanted forest, which is no surprise, considering Charna’s inspiration was a children’s book with the same name, Moss Gown, written by William H. Hooks. The book takes place in a bayou in the Deep South, where a young woman, named Candace, is cast out of her home by jealous older sisters, but with the help of a witch woman and a magical moss gown, she captures the heart of the young plantation owner. Charna dreamed up the perfume’s components after reading the book to her daughter. Just like scents can bring back certain memories, this perfume was actually developed from a precious moment between mother and daughter.

The fragrance is already earning praise from some of the most notable perfume blogs out there, including cafleurebon.com, fragrantica.com and glasspetalsmoke.blogspot.com.

You can purchase it at providenceperfume.com.

*Charna will also hold a fragrance blending class for aspiring perfumers on Feb. 9 at the Hotel Providence. "Discover your passion for perfume" is part of the hotel's Discover Your Passion Workshop Series. Participants will learn how to make their own natural fragrances. You can book the package with a one-night hotel stay for $389, which includes overnight valet parking, breakfast for two and an early check-in. Or you can sign up just for the class for $200 (class fee $140, $60 materials).

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