Take a journey with MCMC Fragrance

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photos: we heart this

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.

Then wrapped them up in simple, elegant packages made from recycled paper.

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):

Maineinspired 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?

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.


  • kari

    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.

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  1. I always try to purchase products that are made in America. This is not as easy as you would think. I am going to add this interesting product to my list.

  2. All of these scents sound wonderful, but Hunter is right up my alley! Like @lyssachelle, I hesitate to order without smelling first, but I am very, very tempted! Great review, @kari!

  3. I’ve always been one to recall and reflect on the past- Known as a day-dreamer of sorts. So, whether I’m thinking about someone I love or someplace special – it’s usually coupled with hearing an awesome song or seeing pictures or hearing familiar voices. Special memories can also be translated into scent- that’s what MCMC Fragrances of Brooklyn NY has done. I received their “Maine” perfume oil. Not only is it a keeper, I love that this company makes this in small batches and bottles them by hand! I love the ocean more than most and this reminds me of sitting on the beach (something I’m doing this afternoon incidentally), and drifting off to wherever it takes me! They made this with that in mind. It is inspired by a day spent on the island of North Haven off the coast of Maine, falling in love. How cool is that? Oh, it gets better. They use my favorite, Bulgarian rose absolute, local clary sage, with French seaweed. That’s so BEACHY!! This does not only smell of Rose, it is more than that. It has the sensual notes I love of the fresh scents of sea, air, sun, pine. It lasts all day long and I love how it dries on to my skin with a musky aroma. I am really looking forward to trying out “Hunter” too! Great- great find! Thanks, and here’s my FIVE big stars! *****

  4. Thanks @turboterp!

    I am totally smitten with MCMC. Not only for the fantastic quality but the entire idea behind this brand is really quite something. I love the descriptions of each scent. And while I tend to veer away from muskier perfumes, I have to say Noble is absolutely lovely. It has a perfect balance between the jasmine and vetiver oil so that it isn’t overpowering. I have gotten TONS of compliments when I wear this scent!

    I really wish I had seen the perfume fountain when I was in New York recently, but alas, it will have to wait for another time. Until then I’ll definitely keep using Noble and now I have my eye on both Hunter and her newest scent Maui.

    Absolutely 5 stars!

  5. Great review, @kari!

    These all sound so lovely; even Maine, which isn’t a scent I’d normaly pick for myself. I’m too picky to order online, scent unsmelled, I wish they had more retailers or sold samples!

  6. Ohh…Falling in love indeed. This fragrance is my summer love. For better or for worse and until death do we part. This is the real thing. I’ve always had a romantic view of Maine… I’ve seen these beautiful black and white pictures of it since I was a child because my father is from Portland. His family didn’t have a car until he was in his 20s…they would fish for lobsters on the weekends. So many lovely images.

    All of my own stories about Maine and then I receive this beautiful bottle in lovely packaging all laced in an air of romance…called Maine. That no one has ever thought to call a perfume Maine before seems almost neglectful.

    I love that the sweetness of rose is disguised under the sage and seaweed. The bittersweetness of love is all in there in this scent. I can’t say enough about it…ahhh can you tell…I’m smitten.

  7. This line sounds wonderful. I would love to try Hunter. Of course I love a nice floral. But often a woodsy scent is more comforting while also being sexier. Hunter sounds like a real woodsy gem!

  8. I got to try Hunter in the roll-on oil formula. I knew at first sniff it had to be mine! Give me a woodsy scent over a floral any day. And this was different from any I’ve previously used. (I love sandalwood, but really perfumers; there are other woods out there!)

    I love that they describe it as best being worn with a flannel shirt. I’ll add to that; a very soft, old and comfortable beyond belief flannel shirt, worn while sitting around a fire and toasting marshmallows (very expensive artisan marshmallows, not the ones you buy in a giant bag!) Hunter has a tinge of sweetness underneath the rich and earthy woods. I love this scent! It’s the kind of scent that when I wear it, I can’t stop sniffing myself. The oil last for hours on me too. But I have been popping this portable roller in my purse so that I can touch up the scent after lunch.

    I love the sentiment behind the stories collection and I can’t wait to try more from this fabulous line. Though I think I’ll be hard pressed to find something I like more than the divine Hunter. 5 stars.

  9. I received Noble for review, and I loved it. First, I must say that had I simply read the description of this perfume oil as a prelude to a purchase I would never buy this. I’m so glad We Heart This gives me the opportunity to try things I never would.
    But why wouldn’t I have tried it? Here in Los Angeles when the night Jasmine blooms, I stay indoors lest I want a migraine. I love the perfumey night air, but it doesn’t love me. This Indian Jasmine still has that heady scent, but (perhaps due to its concentrated subtlty on my skin?) doesn’t make me reach for my Zomig nasal spray. In fact, the floral notes are strong in the oil but, on my skin are so subtle I walk by and people ask “mmm, who is that smelling so good.” At work one day we allowed someone to sniff five or six of us at close proximity to see who smelled so sweet (uh, yeah, it was me.) I’ve gotten the “someone smells good” comment several times.
    Another reason I wouldn’t have tried it is the “musky” description. Musk always makes me think Jovan or the spicy perfumes of rich old ladies Middle Eastern descent. Nothing against either of these, but I don’t like these scents because they either read cheap or like peppery b.o. to me). That’s not to say the term musky is wrong because on second sniff, it is exactly that. It’s just tempered by an elegant, non-hippy-dippy-nor-old-lady-like green and white floral. Somehow these work beautifully together…so much so that I would definitiely purchase again and again. @kari, I’m with you, but the gamble sure would have been worth it for me. Perhaps MCMC should send sample swatches…

  10. Thanks @lyssachelle!

    And I totally understand everyone’s curiosity but hesitation on ordering without first sampling the scent. There’s just so many things to take into account…the ingredients, the formula, the way it interacts with your body’s chemistry…but I have to say, I was so impressed with the quality of this product and the balance she found with Noble (and it seems the other scents are just as lovely), I’d say this is one of the few lines of perfume that is worth taking a gamble on.

  11. Hi everyone!
    So so happy to hear your comments and glad that you enjoyed the products. Please do get in touch with me – I’d love to send everyone who posted comments samples of the fragrances from my line!

  12. Hi Anne!

    That’s so nice of you to do that! We love your work! You can really tell when someone is doing something with love and care. :)

  13. Hey all!

    Just wanted to let you know that following our suggestion MCMC now has a sample kit for sale on their site:


    I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again-
    retailers listen to us! Keep the suggestions coming ladies, they will be heard…

  14. I just wanted to sing the praised of MCMC today! I love “Maine. Right around this time of year I’m really missing home.. maybe it’s just the many memories of sitting at the beach takingit all in.. the amazing smells of the air.. watching the waves crash on the shoreline in NJ.. Now we live on the West Coast and I live only minutes away from the Ocean but it is missing that ocean and bay smell I grew up on. So, I put this on today and it brought me back in an instant.. Thank you for making this creation . I feel like I’m home!

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