Finding Your Signature Scent In Old Town

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Perhaps you’re late for a date and after rushing through those yellow lights and getting stuck in Duke street traffic. . . you arrive at your destination and realized you forgot your travel Hermes. Oh boy – the stress that traffic caused didn’t do any justice to you and now you must find a solution! Or perhaps you’re strolling through Old Town and looking for that perfect gift for your loved one but just don’t know where to start. Whatever your reasons are – I have you covered for your go-to places to freshen up with hard-to-find fragrances in Old Town Alexandria!

My first stop is Bellacara, a high-end boutique for beauty products, hair care, and skin products. Here you will find a rare and widely sought-after fragrance – Child. Child perfume is handcrafted and produced in limited quantities each year and only  sold in select retail stores; which is why having it here in Old Town Alexandria makes it that much more special! Child was created by designer Susan Owens who created the fragrance for herself in 1989. Despite having been around for awhile the fragrance has not lost it’s touch. Since it is produced in small batches and only distributed to limited stores and not available for purchase online through their website, it makes finding this product all the more exciting!  Child is described as a light, white, crisp jasmine floral scent that is “very bold and very aromatic”. You can find both the roller ball for $98 and the 2 oz spray for $165 at Bellacara on King Street in Old Town.

Another unique scent you can find at Bellacara is a selection of fragrances from Kai Gaye Straza. The fragrances were designed by Gaye Straza, who sought to bottle her own love for Hawaii and the scents that drew her to that beautiful island. After years of trying to find the perfect scent, she set out to design her own fragrance which launched in 1999. The original scent, “Kai,” Sanskrit for “ocean,” embodies the Hawaiian floral notes that hug your senses while walking around the island. Kai is a light and exotic scent comprising of gardenia, jasmine, lily and white musk and is both paraben- and sulfate-free. You can find this scent at Bellacara in a 1.7 oz  Eau de parfum for $76 or in the roller ball for $48. For those that are familiar with Kai, you know it has quite a following and enthusiasts were over the top excited to see Kai launch its second perfume in 2017 – “Kai Rose”. It still pays homage to the exotic flowers and gardenia that you will find on the island in the original scent but leads with a  soft rose  top note. Bellacara carries the roller-ball for $48. You can also indulge you entire body by wrapping up  in Kai body polish, body wash, hand cream, and body polish.

My next stop was Blue Mercury. I was intrigued by a line from Caudalie Paris. Caudalie is a natural paraben-free line of beauty products that aims at using natural and environmentally-friendly ingredients without the use of any animal derived raw materials. According to their website, Caudalie “is part of the 1% for the planet movement and donates 1% of its global sales to NPO’s that work to protect the environment.”

Caudalie began when founder Mathide Thomas realized that her family vineyard was throwing away valuable treasures after her professor clued her in on the value of grapes and their restorative properties for the body. Since then, Caudalie was formed and has grown to become a leading beauty product line, focusing on using natural products. Caudalie includes vine extracts in almost all their products. Check out their video on how they use them. When I first came across their line of products, I didn’t know much about them. At first smell – I knew there must be something different. These products smell fresh and give you the notion you are smelling flowers, fruits and plants in their “raw essence” not inside a bottle drenched in alcohol.

The original scent Parfum Divin De Caudalie Paris is sold in a 1.7 oz bottle for $64. Divin is a sensual blend of rose, musk, and vanilla using both Bulgarian and Moroccan roses. The top notes lead with rose and musk followed by  middle notes of vanilla, cedar, and a slight peppery finish. I normally don’t like Eau Fraiche as this is lowest concentration of perfume ( Parfum, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, Eau Fraiche) however, I fell in love with the Caudalie Thé des Vignes I found while perusing the store. Yes, you may have to put on a little more than normal and perhaps keep it in your purse, but it should still last about 2 hours. Caudalie describes this scent as a “stroll through the vines” and a “secretive water to wear in the evenings” with notes of neroli, orange blossom, white musk, ginger and jasmine. You can also find the Fleur des Vignes (White rose, pink peppercorn, watermellon, grapefruit, manderin and cedar) and Rose des Vignes (Rose and Rhubarb) in the Eau Fraiche.

My favorite find at Blue Mercury was Oribe Cote d’Azur. This is the only signature scent by Oribe, a well known hair care line. I’ll admit – I bought it for myself. The fragrance started out as a scent in Oribes haircare products and when the designers at Oribe realized that the scent needed to be captured into a fragrance, they teamed up with one of the oldest French fragrances houses to deliver an incredible star to the world of fragrances.

This fragrance is so fresh and happy – you feel as if you have found yourself on a boat  in the Mediterranean sipping champagne and basking in the sun drenched open sky. The fragrance leads with top notes of  Calabrian bergamot, sicilian orange, and fresh lemon,  followed by middle notes of white butterfly jasmine and tuberose and finishing with sandalwood. You have to try it! The Eau De Parfum is $105 for a 1.7oz and the rollerball is $32.

Blue Mercury also carries a huge line of Acqua di Parma and Diptyque Paris if you don’t feel like trudging all the way to the Pentagon City Mall and foraging through traffic and parking. You can just as easily walk over to your local Old Town Blue Mercury. (Lets keep it local!)

Lastly, I leave you with some awesome finds I found at The Hive, a luxury lifestyle and clothing boutique. You might wonder – why would I go there to find a new fragrance? Well – let me tell you . . . this product is not found in many stores! Ayurveda Apothecary Balancing Perfume Oils are handcrafted in Venice, California from an organic plant based oils by Ayurveda practitioners at Yoke. Designers set out to create an oil that would bring balance and flow to the body. Ayurveda Apothecary uses holistic healing science of Indian cultures  in their plant based beauty and lifestyle products through sustainable practices. Venice is used to inspire creativity with delicate floral scents of oak moss, amber and lotus to bring balance while inspiring ones natural creativity. It is sold in a 1.7oz  bottle for $85. Nomad is designed for the traveler with fresh scents of bergamot orange to refresh and lavender and basil to de-stress in a 15ml bottle for $50. Ubud is inspired by rice terraces and the Balinese countryside and is sold  in a 1.7 oz  bottle for $85. Goa is inspired by the beaches of South India with notes of vanilla and fig in a 15ml bottle for $50. Flow is a balancing oil with a warm scent of Turkish rose petals, apricot, amber and sandalwood and is sold at the Hive in a 1.7 oz for $85.

Thank you all for joining me in a stroll through King street! I apologize for the brief time away for my readers. I cherish you all and I will not let that much time go again! I hope this article was a source of inspiration for you to go out and treat yourself to a new scent! You deserve it!

Till next time – Au revoir!

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