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Things We Like: Eau de Colgin

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ever joked about dabbling a bit of fragrant wine behind your ear? Botanical perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis has done something even better: She's distilled the essence of one of Napa's finest wine estates into a bottle of enticing perfume.

Essence of IX (; $320 for 0.25 fluid ounces), the latest limited release from Balahoutis' Strange Invisible Perfumes, captures the nuances of Colgin Cellars' IX Estate Vineyard - not just the wine or grapes, but the entire property in the mountains above St. Helena.

The result is a different type of intoxication, mingling aromatic notes you might find in Colgin's wines - including Freanch oak, cherry and black currant - with the more exotic top notes of lavender, wild sage and roses found on the property. Like most great perfumes - and wines - it has both a dominant signature note (floral and warm) and an alluring blend of details.

To complete the translation of an entire estate, Balahoutis worked with master distillers to come up with different ingredients for the final scent (even French oak barrel staves were distilled to get the right note) and it follows her model of organic and biodynamic essences free of synthetics, set in a base of organic, beverage-grade grape alcohol.

 By MaryAnn Worobiec