Providence Perfume Company

CharnaWhen you think of natural perfume, you probably conjure up images of hippies and vials of essential oils.  Charna Ethier is the child of what she calls hippie parents and grew up on a commune. “As a teenager I longed for glitz and glamour to get away from the commune,” she says.  “One of my first jobs was working at the perfume counter at Macy’s which I thought was the ultimate in sophistication.”

She would make blends of essential oils for her friends. “I would constantly adjust each fragrance because the wearer would ask for a little more of this or less of that.” So naturally, Charna became a natural perfumer, launching her own line, Providence Perfume Company about two years ago. “I wanted to make my own perfumes and not be restricted by cost.”

She says she’s most attracted to the exotic and rare ingredients, and as many perfumers do, she finds inspiration in her travels. “I became obsessed with osmanthus,” and she created the smokey Osmanthus Oolong, her first of 11 fragrances.

Charna chose the name Providence Perfume Company because she is based in Providence, Rhode Island, and also because she liked the meaning of the word providence.  “I liked that the dictionary listed definitions of providence to mean, ‘the foreseeing care of nature over the creatures of the earth,’ and ‘luck, fate, fortune.’  Perfect for the natural perfumer.”

Charna’s newest perfume is Hindu Honeysuckle, with a burst of fresh cut sweet honeysuckle and a note of jasmine.  Some of her other secents — Eva Luna starts out with a surprising top note of carrots and has a creamy heart of tuberose.  It reminds me of Bonte’s Bloom by Honoré des Prés, made by well-known natural perfumer Olivia Giacobetti. Tabac Citron, with lemon and tobacco, is Providence Perfume’s top seller. “Citrus scents tend to be universally popular,” Charna says.  “Tabac Citron’s unique pairing of citrus and blonde tobacco makes it unisex and eminently wearable.” I also think that these fragrances are wearable for any time of day or night. The perfume oils stay close to the skin and are more intimate.

You can see more of Charna’s natural fragrances on her website.

This blog was originally written by Mary Orlin and can be viewed here.