Today I’m pleased to feature Rebel & Mercury. This is a new botanical perfume line created by Nikki Sheritt of Gabriel’s Aunt. Under the Gabriel’s Aunt (GA) brand, Nikki created botanical perfumes, candles, and bath products. Now her perfume line is separate while the other items remain available under GA.
Based in Seattle, Washington, Nikki’s work has been praised at other perfume blogs such as Scent Hive. I bought several perfumes from her in the past, and one of my favorites is Encens Blanc, which is now available in 20% pure parfum format, as well as in the original parfum oil that I bought it in. It is an intense, smoky incense blend that I deem the mother of all incense-inspired perfumes. Its floral heart with Jasmine and Tuberose is the “Blanc” in Encens Blanc. Galbanum and Rhododendron help anchor the perfume and give it its grounded, calming accents.
Cerise en Cocoa is Nikki’s signature gourmand scent, reminiscent of a cherry cordial. It’s sweet and chocolaty with Pink Pepper, Osmanthus, Rose, Vetiver (which goes so well with cocoa blends!) and of course, Cocoa. It’s a perfectly flirty, youthful scent with an earthy edge, while Summer Love is a bit more grown up with a Sparkling Champagne accord. The Champagne accord is subtle, however, and melds well with the citrus top notes, and spice, Sandalwood, and hay base notes. This scent was also originally offered as part of the Gabriel’s Aunt line, but revamped, and I must say that I like it even more. It’s softer and becomes sexier over time…
Nikki not only sent me samples to try, but kindly answered my questions about her inspirations and her new line. Thank you, Nikki. I hope that you all enjoy this feature!
1. Can you tell us a little about your journey in becoming a perfumer? When did you create your first perfume that you really liked? And why did you decide to create a new line?
My journey started right after a trip to France in 2001. I came back inspired to start a naturally scented line of products. At first, I created candles and that gave me a nice foundation from which to transition to perfumes.
In 2004, I slowly started playing with oil-based blends until I officially released GA Essence Perfumes in 2006. It was a blend also inspired by France, called Venasque, that was my first “baby” and one I was most proud of. A blend of Cocoa, Jasmine, Lavenders, and Lime. Still one of my favorites and also my customers’ . Rebel & Mercury, launching May 2011, was a way of taking the lessons learned from the GA Essence line and the blends, and really making them shine with revamped blends, new formats, and new packaging.
2. What do you do when you are not creating your intoxicating perfumes?
I actually freelance as a Film and Video Producer. My background is TV Commercial Production and it’s something I still thoroughly enjoy to this day. As a freelancer, I am given the opportunity to spend time in between gigs using the other parts of my brain, such as creating naturally scented products for you.
3. Describe your creative process. How do you usually get ideas for a new perfume and what is your process for creating and testing that product?
My creative process usually starts with one of a few of things. Inspiration comes from either colors, sniffing a brand new exquisite oil, or cooking. Many times when I smell an oil for the first time, I immediately want to see what it would smell like with one or two other oils (which just sort of come to me some how), and then the blend starts to form. Many times a blend is all about the color, like Green. This is true for my perfume, Groovy Garden. That was my inspiration; oils that evoked the color Green in my head and then the blend took shape. Many of my blends come together very quickly from when I first sit down to blend to when they are ready to go to their new homes. I think because I know what I want them to be and it all falls into place fast as I get it out of my head and into the bottle. Then, I spend a month or so wearing that blend. I have gotten to the point that I don’t really ask others to test my blends anymore as it is my art and I know how I want it to form.
4. (A question I asked before receiving the samples) Two of my favorite perfumes by you are Encens Blanc and Summer Love. While Encens Blanc is deep and smoky with a mysterious sultry feel, Summer Love is a floral citrus that is seductive and playful at the same time. Both scents are unique as far as I’ve found in natural perfumery. Will you be bringing back these perfumes as part of your new line? What new perfumes should we look out for?
I will absolutely be bringing almost all of the current GA Essence perfumes to the new line. I love them and couldn’t bear to see them go away. I will say this, they will all be revamped a little and, some, a lot plus be available in EDP and Pure Parfum Formats as well as the original Parfum Oil format. I feel like those blends are unique as well and I want to continue to offer my original blends. The exciting thing about launching the new line is debuting 2 new blends “Var En Provence” with Mimosa, Pepper, Lavender, and Olive Leaf and “Cerise En Cocoa” with Osmanthus, Rose, Vetiver and Cocoa. I think these are the best perfumes yet so I am excited to have folks try them.
5. What is your favorite essential oil, extract, tincture, or absolute, and why?
I am completely obsessed with Osmanthus. It has some psychological effect on me that is hard to explain. I have to tell myself that I can’t use it in everything. The same goes with Cocoa. I love it and it adds such great depth to many blends.
6. How do you know when you’ve created a scent that is of the quality to add to your line?
Luckily, when I sit down to blend, it is something that I have to make happen so I can release it and wear it myself. It sits in my brain and has to be let out. Most of the time, things I make end up making the line. There have been about 5 or so exceptions over the last 6 years. There are a few that are not personal favorites that are in the line, but are so unique that I keep them.
7. Can you describe the best feedback you’ve ever received, or describe an interaction that you had that made you feel good about your creations?
Sure, I think the time where I felt like I had really become a perfumer was after I created a Black Tea/Rose Bespoke blend and was going over some details with the customer on the phone. She told me that she had tried so many natural perfumes and had decided that what I had made her was so far beyond her expectations. The way it made her feel was hard for her to describe. She loved the fact that I had made something that she wanted while putting my signature on it. It made me feel really good that she was having this kind of experience and reaction.
8. What plans do you have for your new line? What should we be looking out for?
As I mentioned earlier, the new line will not only take the current perfumes and revamp them (very exciting for me), but will make them available in Pure Parfum and Parfum Oil formats with EDP’s to come in a few months. You will have the options of getting lovely sample bottles, mini bottles, roll-ons, and spritzers. I like the fact that there will be so many options for my customers. Continue to look for unique blends that you can’t find anywhere else.
9. Do you have any favorite crafters or artisans that you would like to share with us?
I have so many artisans that I love so that is a long list, but some folks who inspire me and create things I love are: Perfumers: Charna of Providence Perfumes, Ayala of Ayala Moriel Parfums, Jo of Green Springs Body Works, who creates amazing things for my face, as well as French Girl Organics and Crush Groove Cosmetics, where I get lots of things that make me pretty.
10. What advice would you give to budding perfumers and artisans who are looking to present their wares to the public?
Packaging and labels are key. If you are not a graphic designer, find a good one. Don’t skimp on the bottles or packaging. Get unique styles that will fit your brand. I see the same types of packaging used over and over again. I love products and lines that are unique in every way. This makes me feel like there is an art to their product. Find a good photographer and take good clean photos. You don’t have to get fancy. Keep it simple and showcase what you love about your product. Lastly, try other perfumers’ and artisans’ products. This will keep you in touch with what others are doing and will challenge you to create new and exciting products. This will help you define your style.
I will give away my samples of Encens Blanc and Cerise en Cocoa to the randomly chosen winner of my first drawing. Cerise has been gently used 🙂 while Encens is unused. Please leave a comment and describe your favorite botanical perfume. What keeps you wearing it over and over again? What makes it special for you?
Drawing ends June 30th!