Experiences, as fleeting as they are, can be powerful sources of inspiration. Sometimes a simple sound or scent can suddenly whisk us back to those single moments. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to bottle those precious memories into something tangible to constantly remind and inspire us? Such is the idea behind MCMC Fragrances. A young entrepreneur and perfumer, Anne McClain turned her dreams into reality by cultivating her inspirations as an artist and traveler into this line of naturally based fragrances.
McClain’s journey is, as often the case, one of devotion and perseverance. In 2008, she was one of only twelve students (and the only American) accepted into the prestigious Grasse Institute of Perfumery. She soon defied all those that doubted that a young American woman, who couldn’t even speak French, could transform French traditions into a successful business back home in the United States.
McClain mastered the raw materials and methods used in traditional perfumery and brought her new found skills back to Brooklyn. Where in 2009, from a little home laboratory, she went on to develop her own company, website, and line of high quality fragrances.
I was fortunate enough to receive Noble. Part of the Stories collection, it draws upon the experiences of McClain’s time in Nepal and is the first scent she created before any formal training. Using Indian Jasmine absolute and Vetiver oil from Haiti, it’s exotic, deep, and earthy with a hint of nutty sweetness. It’s both heady and musky yet remains sensual and pretty. And while it may not have been inspired by my own personal memory, it is such an intoxicating scent that I feel like I’ve been transported into a quiet, spiritual world, sipping spicy chai tea in the warmth of the late afternoon sun.
Beginning from natural ingredients that are organic and wild crafted whenever possible, each fragrance is mixed in small batches and bottled by hand, assuring that what you’re getting is the result of a lot of time and conscientious care. And like Noble, each are extensions of actual experiences from McClain’s life.
Review team members also received two other fragrances from The Stories collection, which are all unisex and available in oil roll-ons ($45) and sprays ($110):
Maine – inspired by a day of falling in love on the island of New Haven, captures the sun and sea air through a mixture of Bulgarian rose, sage, myrrh and French seaweed.
Hunter – named for a childhood friend, this scent combines tobacco absolute, Bourbon vanilla and fir balsam and was created to remember time spent in Vermont and dear old friends who instilled a love of the environment.
Not only do McClain’s fragrances draw upon past events, but she’s gone on to create new memories to inspire more. Working with the Trust Art organization, each year McClain will volunteer in a different part of the world. From these experiences she hopes to impart a sense of compassion in others through new fragrances created from the memories of each trip. The project, entitled, “The Humanity Project,” has already inspired the first fragrance, Humanity (based around the Indian white lotus flower with vanilla, maté tea and sustainable sandalwood), and a solar powered perfume fountain to be installed in McGolrick Park in New York during the Summer of 2010, as well as a variety of events and workshops to be taught by McClain alongside the fountain.
McClain’s artistry and devotion to eco-friendly and compassionately designed fragrances is inspiring in itself. And I think you can feel and smell good knowing that you’re using a product that not only is of superior quality but, as she claims, is “guaranteed made with love.”
Team – Did MCMC Fragrances bring you to a warm and centered place of happy memories?[ratings]
Kari is a Minneapolis based artist who drinks too much coffee and enjoys taking pictures of the strange foods she eats. She’s always running 10 minutes behind despite her clock being an hour fast. You can find her musings on art, music and food at her blog, Tuna Fish Casserole.
Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.