Anniebelles Rose is one of Liz Zorn's Soivohle Absolutes, the fragrances that started it all for Liz Zorn, an Ohio-based independent perfumer who creates natural, niche fragrances of exceptional quality (and luxury prices). Zorn's Soivohle Absolutes are rich, elegant, and uncompromising creations that she calls "Art in a Bottle." As a painter, she is spot-on with that characterization.
Zorn is especially proud of the Absolutes - for good reason. In many instances, she has created special tinctures and accords for just one scent. Each of the Absolutes has a solid underlying story line: a song, a novel, a painting, says Zorn - all wrapped up into one ephemeral creation.
The Soivohle Absolutes have heady concentrations ranging from 30-50%. The most luxurious fragrances in her line, they are available in both Modern Natural and Mixed Media Blends. The Absolutes are available in two sizes, the mini 4.5 ml chunky glass flacons that I purchased ($60) and the snazzier 15 ml (1/2 oz) flacon pictured here. Samples are available for the undecided.
When I found out about Liz Zorn, I ordered several of her Absolutes. It was a reader, Lovethescents, who mentioned Honeysuckle Bird when I wrote that I love honeysuckle. I still haven't figured out that fragrance, trying to identify the note that overwhelms the florals - to my nose. Is it the moss? I doubt it, but I have no idea. I can't get past that note to enjoy the honeysuckle, lily of the valley, wild strawberries, rose, and jasmine.
On the other hand, Anniebelles Rose reached out and grabbed ahold of me. Termed a mixed-media scent, meaning it's about more than the rose, it's a lovely fresh rose with the green edges of the leaf and thorn. Zorn's description says it's accompanied by spices and a hint of carnation - and inspired by a sweet yet fiery lady cat with long red hair. How could I not love it? A cat and roses? Zorn must have known this cat lady would find it irresistible.
At first blush, the spice in Anniebelles Rose worried me. A spicy, pungent opening note overwhelms the rose for all of two minutes. I read at Fragrantica that the spice is cinnamon, a note I can't tolerate for any length of time (I hold my breath and run past Cinnabon shops). Cinnamon would explain my initial fear on first dab (would I hate the scent?). I realize that most people adore cinnamon. If there's cinnamon in Anniebelles Rose, it's a teaser. I read at another blog (can't remember where) that Anniebelles Rose gets its sharp top note from blackcurrant buds, though it may have some bitter galbanum too. I don't know! I don't detect any of those notes. I do know that the top note doesn't please me. Could it be clove? I need to ask Zorn what it is - if it's not a trade secret.
Fortunately, no more than two minutes after application, the top note exits stage left, disappearing like a ghost who leaves me wondering, "Was he here?" With the fleeting, ghostly (ghastly?) top note gone, Anniebelles Rose has a soft, powdery, green rose heart and finish that's enormously pleasing to this rose fragrance lover. The rose persists for hours, leaving me sublimely happy, mentally sitting on a bench in a rose garden. On "deep dry-down," when there's barely any fragrance left, I smell something like amber and/or vanilla, but that's just a haphazard guess. The rose has departed the stage, leaving behind a pleasant soft reminder - perhaps a petal or two. I'm not a fragrance guru. I'm learning and will be for years.
Anniebelles Rose is a soft fragrance, characterized by the regal rose that has inspired perfumers, artists, writers, and other romantics - all impassioned by the lure of this flower with its many personalities. Zorn has created a modern rose, one that will please floral lovers who love the tradition (and scent) of the rose, but don't want to smell like their grandmothers.
Did Anniebelle love roses? Only Liz Zorn knows. Even the pricing is discreet. Select the scent that interests you on Zorn's Web site, look at the bottom of the screen, and you'll find a drop-down with all of the fragrances, sizes, and prices. For a very modest price, you can order samples, which makes it easy to select before you commit. I couldn't wait!
Update from Liz Zorn (via Twitter): Thank you for the lovely review; the dominant top notes in Anniebelles Rose are Bergamot, Galbanum. and Anise... The perfume also contains pandanus attar, which is a tad pungent, but you don't get that right out of the bottle, no cinnamon.
Third update from Liz, also via Twitter, a photo of Anniebelle herself below.Photos courtesy of Liz Zorn, White Flower Farm, and pawschicago