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Mermaid’s Dawn was originally created under the banner of Ethereal Aroma’s Incense Company in 2018. While there was only one edition of this particular blend, it became one of the most popular and well received. When Melissa and I decided to create a new LLC and house our artistic endeavors under one roof, there were a handful of blends I wished to carry over and brand as standard house blends. Mermaid’s Dawn was one of these, and the upcoming Island Nag Champa (which is a combining of Nag Champa Mediations and Hawaiian Nag Champa) is another. More names will be announced when the time is right.
Illustration for Mermaid's Dawn, 2018 first edition
Mermaid’s Dawn promised to be one of the most complicated and nerve wracking blends during its initial formulation in 2018, as the name is quite vague when it comes to portraying the aromatic intent. One thing I knew for certain, though, was that I wished to work with Myrrh and use ocean water to remove as much of the gum element as possible. Being in the Midwest at the time, finding fresh ocean water was a bit of a challenge. Thanks to a friend from St. Augustine, fresh clear water from the Atlantic was provided and I quickly combined it with high quality Myrrh from Yemen. In all honesty, I can’t remember if “Myrrh-maid” was originally in my mind or not. It does seem fitting regardless, as Myrrh is often considered to have a “watery” smell and is also associated with the same element.
First mix of Mermaid's Dawn, January 2022
Fast forward to Florida in January 2022, work began on the standard house incense blend for Mermaid’s Dawn, which I consider the “beach sand” version. This is in some ways a “loose” incense blend, though the ingredients have still been refined, ground, enfleuraged, and infused using various methods I have devised over the years. The main differences between the “beach sand” and the limited edition “incense pearl” versions are the cost of many of the ingredients and the difficulty and time required during production. The “beach sand” versions often use more affordable and sustainable or farm-raised ingredients when available and require much less pain and time as they are not kneaded and hand rolled into tiny incense balls. For example, the “beach sand” version will contain Somalian Myrrh, farm-raised Agarwood, standard high-grade Sandalwood, and a homemade Ambergris tincture. While the “incense pearl” edition will contain Yemeni Myrrh, a rare and exquisite Agarwood from Banana Island off the coast of Southern Sumatra, a vintage premium Mysore Sandalwood and pure Ambergris from the Bahamas.
Mermaid's Dawn : Beach Sand Incense
Bringing a new company and shop into existence gave me the opportunity to refine and incorporate new elements into the original Mermaid’s Dawn formula. Being on the subtropical coastline, I have been able to now collect my own fresh ocean water from the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches also provide me with new opportunities to experiment with previously unavailable ingredients. For example I have collected various pieces of driftwood, which have proven to be pleasingly aromatic and we now have access to a multitude of different shell species. For this blend I incorporated the shiny Atrina Pen shell, which was ground into a powder and mixed into the blend (with hopes of adding a little luster). Though I ended up using Seaweed absolute from Eden Botanicals in this blend, I will be experimenting with creating my own Seaweed tincture, and then concentrating it down into an absolute of my own creation. Just a couple of weeks ago I came across a Lightning Whelk operculum. While I am unsure if this will be useful in my future blends, it is an interesting possibility as Onycha originating from the Red Sea appears in various ancient texts. It probably will not appear in future versions of Mermaid’s Dawn, but it will be incorporated into something if I can find a way for processing it to my satisfaction.
Mermaid's Dawn: Beach Sand Incense, 2022
One main aspect of my new Incensarium was the promise of creating perfume versions of many of our house incense blends. Rather than beginning with the intent of creating “traditional” perfumes using the “rules” of that particular world, I am viewing this as creating “wearable incense”. I am not sure how common it is to use resins as the starting note for perfumes, but that is exactly how I am creating mine. Where the incense blend is using my “Sea-Kissed Myrrh”, the perfume is starting with Somalian Myrrh EO. To the Myrrh EO, other resinous oils have been added to create a foundation. This was 1 of 5 accords that were created to be used in the creation of the final perfume.
Five perfume accords for Mermade's Dawn roll-on perfume, 2022
Mermaid's Dawn final perfume blend, 2022
Almost all of the incense ingredients were accounted for using EOs, absolutes or homemade tinctures and infusions to create the perfume! While the perfume promises to be a bit sweeter and floral in its opening, the tenacity of the resins, fine woods and balsamic elements remain long after the more volatile notes have drifted off into the night. The standard roller ball perfumes use jojoba as a carrier oil which helps extend the blend and makes it a more affordable option when compared with the limited pure fragrance edition which is yet to come.
Mermaid's Dawn: Roll-on Perfume, 2022
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