This Perfume Smells Like Yoga (Not The Sweaty Kind)

My relationship with fragrance has been a long one, fraught with migraine headaches, dozens of half-used bottles, and enough grandma perfumes to fill a nursing home. And the silly thing is, I am very much in tune with what I like, scent-wise. The problem? The notes I tend to adore are usually the ones I smell on boyfriends — musky, woodsy, typically "manly" scents that are never marketed toward women. No, no — we're supposed to want to smell like a cupcake or a spray of freesia. And sure, I could have opted for a cologne or a unisex scent, but I could never find one that had the right balance of muskiness and freshness I was looking for.

So it was with a skeptic's nose that I dipped into a mailing from Lake & Skye, a small-batch brand that specializes in 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil products. The brand's website boasts the fact that its products are handcrafted in "high-vibrational" environments in New York and L.A., and that its ingredients are chosen for their therapeutic properties. The fragrance that I was immediately drawn to, dubbed 11 11, was inspired by Kundalini yoga and the color white.

That sounds great and all, but what does it actually smell like?

Freakin' amazing, as a matter of fact. It has the rich, musky notes I adore in the men's fragrances I've come across, but with a subtle sweetness. That in itself is pretty crazy, considering it's only made of two scents: amber and musk. But there's something about these two that, when mixed together and spread across my skin, turns them into the most me-smelling fragrance I've ever encountered. It smells clean and fresh, but with a hint of sexiness that I've always longed for in a scent. It's totally minimalist, which might be what I love most about it.

I, like so many people I've talked to, had never considered such a simple route as the road to fragrance nirvana — I mean, the bottle only has two notes. It just seemed so crunchy and inelegant. But Lake & Skye has effortlessly meshed the mindful simplicity of dual-scented fragrances with the luxury of a "traditional" perfume. The blend comes in convenient rollerball packaging — something I'd never truly appreciated until now. Applying (and reapplying) it feels like a palatial ritual. The few seconds out of my day when I dab on the scent feel centered and luxurious; it's a full-sensory experience.

In her book How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are, Caroline de Maigret advises us to find our perfect perfume before we're 30 and then wear it for the next 30 years. It may not fall into the technical category of "perfume," but Lake & Skye's 11 11 is something I can see myself applying decade after decade.

Lake & Skye 11 11 Fragrance, $48, available at Lake & Skye.
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