The same fragrance fairy that sent me all the Gorilla perfumes also sent me a sample of this. Altern’ Essence are a small, ethical company based in Edinburgh and they create fragrances using only 100% natural essential oils.
Now for a while I was very firmly an all natural fragrance kind of girl. Disillusioned by the increasingly bland, big brand offerings in my local department store, I was not yet aware of the diverse selection of far more interesting niche perfumes available to me. Therefore I retreated into the realms of natural perfumery, feeling that at least I knew what I was getting. An essential oil perfume is honest. It doesn’t make you a promise that it can’t deliver. It seemed like a kind of alchemy to me, a transforming of nature into a potent elixir.
‘Between Mountains’ is described as being
“Inspired by a recent trip through Asia……. mostly influenced by a day perched on a small mountain ledge in Luang Pabang, surrounded on all sides by great imposing mountains, Between Mountains incorporates a feeling of grandeur but yet is very humble, using oriental and floral aspects.”
Having never had the experience of being perched on a mountain ledge in Luang Pabang, I was prepared to use my imagination for this one. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how evocative this fragrance is, without any help.
‘Between Mountains’ opens with a really lovely breath of Neroli, proper, smokey-sharp neroli. Following behind is a crunch of black pepper and the two together create the unmistakable scent of an early summer morning. The sun rising crystalline before you, the grass still dewy but the air already warming up. Then along comes the lemon cream woodiness of sandalwood, like the smouldering of last night’s fires still sending tendrils through the green leaves above. In the bows, the night flowering jasmine closes it’s eyes against the morning but leaves it’s scent hanging in the air, enough to attract the bees. There is caraway too, and when it makes it’s appearance it leaves the uncanny impression of large stones heating up in the sun. Once the caraway is present it takes over, pushing the sun higher into the sky and warming that magical early morning into full daylight.
The perfume sits very close to the skin. It never raises its voice and within two hours has receded into an almost undetectable whisper of warmth. But the opening is just so completely beautiful, for the couple of minutes that it lasts it is a masterpiece. I am impressed with the blending of essential oils in ‘Between Mountains’. There is an exquisite balance of notes that is difficult to achieve and I just love that amazing neroli at the beginning. I would apply this perfume over and over again, just for that.
It does not have a lot of longevity or plunge to great depths in it’s development but I would definitely give it merit for it’s balance and subtle nuance. For those who like a very quiet, intimate perfume with no artificially created ingredients, I would highly recommend that you go and have a look at what Altern’ Essence are up to.