Meet Phlur By Susan McLean
Recently, I've been so bored with the fragrance world. This overarching lack of sincerity oozes off the shelves and shelves of perfume bottles, and though I have my few tried and true scents, I rarely shop for fragarence. I really don't need some salesgirl dying for a commission telling me how the notes of grapefruit really mingle with my spirit or that amber is truly your spirit scent.
Obviously, I'm writing this because I'm no longer bored. Phlur is the coolest company in the game. With a short list of scents, ethically sourced ingredients, and fragrances based around feelings and vibes, I'm obsessed.
I was lucky enough to be able to work with Phlur to try out a few scents, learn about how their company works, and what makes a good perfume a truly good perfume.
With only six scents, Phlur sounds like a hit or miss fad type website, but I can assure you that quality is their first concern. Each scent is curated carefully, notes are considered, and a scent is created. Founder Eric Korman is quoted saying that "Fragrance is an experience, not a product" and I fully agree.
Not only do we naturally gravitate towards scents that we feel fit us, but once we start wearing those scents, we build memories around them, memories that can be triggered by that same perfume. When I traveled across Europe, I wore Chanel Madamoiselle, and that scent is attached to so many lovely memories, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Scents are choices, and are something I'm very deliberate about.
The first perfume I tried was Hanami, which Phlur calls "an aquatic floral tableau, with a reverent subtlety and a warm embrace." I can feel the warmth in the scent, and I really pick up on the fig, sandalwood, and maybe notes of coconut? I'm no perfumer, but here's what Nathalie Benareau, the actual perfumer said:
"We believe there’s no wrong way to smell a fragrance—even experts sometimes can’t identify what’s in a particular scent. That said, if you’re craving notes, then who are we to stand in your way? Which brings us to the notes for Hanami: fig, white florals, hazelnut, and sandalwood. 'It’s an intellectual scent, minimalistic. It’s like that person that has so much style, you can’t help but look.'"
Phlur is also incredibly sustainable, which is huge for me. Apparently, "prized for its distinctive scent, natural Indian Sandalwood has sadly been overharvested to the point of near decimation. That’s why we use lab-developed scent molecules that are indistinguishable from natural sandalwood, and are totally safe for skin and the environment. Better for the planet, better for you." How awesome is that?
I really love putting on Hanami about midday, when I'm in need of a pick-me-up, and the light notes really energize me and put me in a more playful mood.
Next, I tried Moab. Moab is insane, in the best possible way. I have never smelled anything like Moab before- and I'm so into it. Phlur says "it's arid spice seduces like the vastness of the west, emanating an invigorating dry heat." If that sounds like bullshit, it's not.
According to Phlur: "Moab is our translation of the feelings inspired by the desert’s sun, wind and openness. Next time you take a long drive out West—or just wish you could—this is the scent that will bring back those memories further on up the road. We believe there’s no wrong way to smell a fragrance—even experts sometimes can’t identify what’s in a particular scent. That said, if you’re craving notes, then who are we to stand in your way? Which brings us to the notes for Moab: long pepper, clove, vanilla, jasmine and tonka bean."
This is almost an understatement of Moab's power. The scent draws people in, builds suspence, mystery. The scent feels tactile, strong, powerful. The perfumer, Ralf Schwieger, says "Some things smell so natural, they are just building blocks crying out loud to be combined.” I think this is a really cool way to describe it, and I would even go so far as to say that Moab feels inevitable.
Just like how the sandalwood in Hanami was ethically sourced, elements from Moab were as well (and this theme continues through the other four perfumes in Phlur's collection) Phlur comments:
"We seek out ingredients that are grown and cultivated with innovative, environmental methods and exclude raw materials that damage ecosystems. We've made tough but important decisions when choosing between natural ingredients and those made in a lab. Our products are free of known skin irritants, parabens, phthalates, unnecessary stabilizers and animal products. We expect the best out of ourselves and our partners. And we think you do, too." When we live in an age where you see scandals about cat piss being in major perfumes, this is really great to hear.
Apparently, "resin from Snowbell (aka Styrax) trees helps give Moab its deep, complex body. We support our partner Mane’s efforts in Honduras to ensure that the traditional, sustainable art of harvesting resin is passed down to newer generations, and in their efforts to protect wages and fair trade in the region. Better for the planet, better for you."
Another thing I love about Phlur is slightly surface, but the bottles are perfect. They're sturdy, white opaque cubes with magnetic lids (!!!!) and not only do they protect the scents, but they look amazing on a vanity. The minimalist vibe gives me life. Plur says "Simply put, light damages fragrance. Our bottle was designed to block out external light to ensure that your fragrance is as vivid and enticing as the day you got it. Fragrances in clear bottles require stabilizers and dyes to make them look more appealing. Our opaque bottles mean you don’t have to spray unnecessary chemicals on your skin. Our bottles are made of 20% recycled glass, the highest percentage possible in the industry. This differentiates us in a business that still largely uses virgin flint glass."
This attitude is so welcome and admirable, and isn't the only place Phlur is doing good. "In addition to using responsible ingredients, we believe in supporting initiatives that have a lasting impact on people's lives. That's why $5 from every bottle sold is donated directly to a cause we have faith in." These include the Central Park Conservancy and The IUCN Red List.
Check out Phlur here, and take a look at some photos below.
What we put on our faces.