Hi everyone! I am very excited to share this interview with the creator and owner of Lilac & Moss, Journey. I found Lilac & Moss through Instagram and Journey liking one of my photos, I was intrigued by her branding and the notes of her perfumes. I love getting to explore new brands and new takes on notes in perfumes, though I suppose you know that, otherwise this blog wouldn’t exist.
So I reached out to Journey and asked if I could ask her a few questions for an interview so people could get to know her and her brand better. I am so glad she said yes, because I am loving her perfumes, especially Latte but more on that after the interview.
As a note, all of these perfume samples were purchased by me with my own money. The one freebie I noted next to the review of it.
Well first of, why don’t you tell me a little bit about you and the inspiration behind Lilac & Moss?
I never know how to answer these questions! My name is Journey and I am the one-woman show behind Lilac & Moss. I live in the Boston area, transplanted from Texas, with my wife and three cats. With Lilac & Moss I wanted to convey scents that were something like clean but earthy, floral but not sickeningly sweet, just balanced but interesting.
How did you get started creating perfumes?
When I started getting into more natural and indie perfumes (namely Lush and BPAL) I found I really enjoyed figuring out what all the different notes smelled like and thinking of ways I would change them, and so on. I didn’t really consider making my own perfumes until last year, though, when I was itching for a productive hobby. My wife is super creative (she’s an artist) and while I write, that’s such a personal hobby, not something I really share. So when I thought about making perfume, I just decided to go for it. I did the necessary research beforehand, but after that I just jumped straight in!
I think it’s a gamble that’s paid off, fortunately! I’m still a new brand, but folks have been so receptive, and the trends and reviews are super encouraging for the long-term. I’ll also be in at least one local physical store within the next month!
I know a few perfumes are inspired by The Lumatere Chronicles, do you pull inspiration from books a lot or do you usually pull from seasonal inspirations or just things you think people might like?
The Queen to Queen Set (Isaboe, Phaedra, and Quintana) is definitely a one-off thing for me. I had just been talking about the series with some friends, and I’m known to gush to no end about my feelings for these women characters, so I threw out “I should make them a perfume set!” and everyone was super enthusiastic about it, so it actually happened.
But directly basing something on a fandom (not counting things very common, mythological, etc) is not something I plan on repeatedly doing. For the most part, my inspiration starts with either (a) a note I want to use or (b) a name/concept I want to use. For example, Haven was created because I received oakmoss absolute and was super excited to work with it for the first time. Sappho started with the name first, and knowing I wanted to include violet as a note. Another one I’m working on and tossing around right now starts off with the name (Rusalka).
How would you describe Lilac & Moss in a paragraph or less?
Handmade, vegan, natural-based perfume oils with unique blends.
I’ve been considering adding “and a feminist conscience” to that! Which some people may wonder what that has to do with perfume, but it’s important to me that my product names and stories don’t assume all my customers are feminine-leaning, heterosexual, cisgender, white American women. I have a number of butch lesbian friends who have been buying my perfumes because finally there’s something for them that isn’t Britney Spears or Axe. (Nothing against Brit-Brit.)
As a perfumer, what is your absolute favorite ingredient to work with?
This is a hard one! Personally my favorite scent is violet—I’d probably include it in everything if I could. Maybe that should be the next collection! But in terms of really great ingredients as a perfumer, probably rose and kelp. A good rose absolute is just so lovely and versatile, and the same with kelp. It’s just so good. People are shocked when I tell them that kelp is one of the notes in some of the perfumes.
What is your personal favorite perfume, from your collection or elsewhere?
My favorite of mine so far is Sappho. From others, it’s not around anymore, but I am addicted to the scent of Lush’s Tuca Tuca. It’s a dark, sexy violet. Noticing a trend yet?!
For those people who haven’t tried your perfumes yet, which 5 would give them the best idea of what Lilac & Moss stands for?
Hm, good question! I think Haven, Atalanta, Summer, Garden, and Quintana. I really wanted to include Sappho and Carousel in that, but I think those five really capture the full range.
Last question!, I know that your perfumes are Vegan & Natural, how important was the choice to make Vegan & Natural perfumes?
I am a passionate animal lover and strict vegetarian myself so being vegan and cruelty-free was never a question for me. I think it’s also one of the big draws of indie/handmade perfumes for other people, as well.
My perfumes are “mostly” natural, in that some of them (but not all of them) contain a small portion of fragrance oils. However, the fragrance oils I do use are alcohol-free, paraben-free, and phthalate-free. I’m not someone who freaks out about all chemicals and only uses organic everything, but I do think it’s good to know what going on or in your body, and to know that it’s as safe as possible. You can kind of think of it in terms of food—there’s a difference between eating “whole foods” and raw diets! My approach isn’t that anything synthetic is bad and must be avoided (“raw”) but that simple and natural when possible is better.
I think it also helps to stay simple and natural as a consumer and a perfumer. When making or describing a perfume, for example, there’s a million different variations of “amber,” but everyone knows what a real rose smells like.
Now, on the Reviews!
Atalanta: clary sage, fir, amber, bergamot, lime, grapefruit
Opening the sample vial sends a zip of fresh lime and clary sage straight to my nose. It is all citrus at the forefront. Sour, slightly bitter grapefruit mingling with tart lime. The bergamot adds a subtle sweetness which mellows out what could have been harsh grapefruit. On my skin it turns into a fresh zippy green scent the fir really stands out on my skin. Which tends to happen to me, forrest green smells just explode on my skin chemistry. Have you ever broke a christmas tree branch open when it was just fresh cut? This perfume is that with a little tiny dash of fresh squeezed lime once it dries down on my skin.
If you’re looking for a super true to life fresh green fir smell covered in a squeeze of lime juice, this is for you.
Latte: coffee, cinnamon, clove, vanilla
I love coffee smells, I can just write prose forever on how much I love coffee smells. I hoard them, I smother myself in them as frequently and as much as possible. Now, I’ve smelled some super realistic coffee smells (namely, gimme mah coffee from Haus of Gloi) but what Lilac & Moss nails here is absolutely a Latte smell. I love a good cup of coffee snuggling on the couch in a warm blanket being cuddled by my giant cuddlebug dog while reading a good book, this perfume takes me right there. It is pleasantly intense, sweet, coffee with a heavy dose of clove and cinnamon. I picture a big warm mug with whipped cream and a liberal dusting of clove and cinnamon on top. In the vial it is very calm but on my skin the clove is amped, which is normal for my skin, but as it dries the sweet vanilla coffee comes back out. I imagine that this smells amazing as a hair oil. I am enjoying the throw because as I sit here typing this it is wafting gently to my nose.
If you’re looking for a strong, creamy, interesting coffee perfume, this is for you. If you do not like clove this might not be the perfume for you.
Quintana: smoke, tobacco, incense, vanilla
Quintana is lightly smokey in vial without much else, I am finding that Lilac & Moss’s perfumes truly bloom to their full power on your skin. It is lightly sweet with a little aquatic hint somewhere in the back of the notes. The incense is the strongest note on my skin with smokey murkiness clinging around the edges. As it is drying down I get little hints of the tobacco which is rich and a little sweet, it pairs really nicely with the rest of what I’m getting. Completely dry it smells like rich, deep, men’s cologne. It is pretty damn sexy.
If you’re looking for a perfume that dries down super sexy. Get this! I want to slather it on my husband.
Gossamer: vanilla, marshmallow, rose, raspberry
This 100% smells like a tea that I love. It is very vanilla with a nice dose of fresh raspberry jam. The rose in this one seems to act more as a anchor between the other scents than an overwhelming floral rose. The marshmallow adds a nice sweet quality and a little creaminess. It is some way reminds me of hookah shisha which isn’t a bad thing at all. I’m intrigued by this perfume there is something about it I just can’t place. It smells like burnt sugar, a little tobacco, citrusy sweet jam with sweet marshmallowy goodness.
if you’re looking for a interesting floral/fruity gourmand this is for you.
Mossflower*: lilac, rose, moss, earth, wood (*was a freebie. :])
Mossflower is intriguing, for those of you who know you me you know I’m not the biggest fan of florals, and Mossflower in bottle comes across more wet earth and mossy. A very interesting wet and more aquatic smell. I put a little on my skin and while it is wet still the rose really comes out but with some woodiness which makes this more appealing to me. The Lilac is a little sweet, clean and calming its scent takes over as it dries down which turns this perfume into one I would consider wearing. I’m glad that the rose doesn’t last long in this one on me because I’ve found that rose tends to turn soapy on me.
If you are looking for a clean, fresh, aquatic, green smell this would be for you.
Overall, I found that my first interaction with Lilac & Mosses perfumes were very pleasant. I will gladly try more. They hug to the skin just enough that I find that most of these would be safe for work. They last around 2-3 hours on my skin which isn’t too long but I have been on the dryer side skin-wise lately and that could have something to do with it.
Samples cost $3.50/each or you can buy sample sets of 8 perfumes for $26.00 in different scent categories or something from each category. Samples are 1.5ml.
Full-Size cost $11.00 for 5ml or $20.00 for 10ml and you can get them in either amber or clear roller bottles.
I purchased my samples on the 11th of February, it was picked up by USPS on the 17th and arrived to me on the 20th.
Shipping is $2.79 USD for US shipping and she does offer local pickup if you are near her in Massachusetts. Shipping is $9.75 USD to Canada, $13.75 USD to United Kingdom and $14.00 USD to Australia. It appeared it varies for other locations as well but I figured I’d only cover the basis of people I know read my blog.
As always I hope you enjoyed this post, follow me on social media for updates daily on things I get, mini reviews and when I post here.
<3 – K