Interviews Movies, Magic and Wishes: The Scents of Sebastiane

Movies, Magic and Wishes: The Scents of Sebastiane

06/25/16 08:13:53 (40 comments)

by: Jodi Battershell

Perfumer Robert Elder ("Robbie") founded Sebastiane in 2012. Sebastiane's Espresso Royale quickly garnered a cult following for its sweet and delicious aroma that also captured a very realistic coffee note. Our writer Ida Meister explored Espresso Royale's unique "java jive" in this 2015 review.

Sebastiane introduced Immortal Meadow that same year, which is a complete 180 from the Espresso but has in common with it the realism. A few tweaks were made to the fragrance in 2014, but reviewers seem to agree that it conjures a true meadow with its fragrance. Our member miracleborgtech captures it beautifully in this review:

 

"The notes all merge into this incredible smell that for me existed only outside at my grandmother's house. She lived in the mountains. Way out in the country, down a dirt road. She loved and planted huge azure blue morning glory vines everywhere. The porch and windows were covered in them. Every year when I went to visit, I would pick the flowers and later collect the seeds. Immortal Meadow smells like the crushed morning glory vines on my hands on a hot summer day."

 

As for me, I was bowled over by 2014 release Black Magic, which for me was the aroma of my favorite head shop in a bottle. Robbie and I got to chatting after I published the review of Black Magic and learned we have more than a few things in common.

Our starting point for the conversation? Horror movies, and to be more specific, Suspiria, a classic in the giallo category from Italian director Dario Argento. We are both big fans of this film, which follows an American ballerina who travels to Italy to study dance and instead finds herself entangled with a secret coven of witches. Here's a trailer for the film, which illustrates why Suspiria is actually as famous for its sets, costumes, cinematography and music as it is for its thrills and gore. (Turn your volume up for the full experience, but if you're not a fan of gore, you'll want to stop the video at or before the 2:37 mark.)

"I remember when my mom got the Movie Channel in and Suspiria was featured," says Robbie. "I begged her to let me watch, so on a Friday night at 10pm we sat down to watch.  I did not sleep well that weekend [laughs]... that opening murder scene, with the hand coming through the window!"

As it happens, Suspiria inspired the development of Black Magic. "I wanted to capture something dark, mysterious and sexy for this scent," he says. "It could not be something soft, but it had to be loud! It also had to be something that took on its own personality." 

Black Magic is a distinctive and highly wearable fragrance that successfully channels the intrigue and beauty of the film as well as capturing a bit of that 1970s vibe, too. It cast a spell on me even before I knew its backstory was one of my favorite films. Black Magic's flowers, fruits and sweet notes are nicely juxtaposed by leather, patchouli, vetiver and grass, creating a complex and powerful aroma with a bit of mystery and killer longevity. Robbie acknowledges, "I have had a few say it is as if I found the secret behind the door that led to the black queen in Suspiria."

Magic, film, fantasy literature and art are tremendous sources of inspiration for Sebastiane perfumes. The son of an artist, Robbie's background includes studies at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, followed by a degree in Accounting from Point Park University, whose Conservatory of the Performing Arts is one of the top programs of its kind in the United States. With one foot in the Arts and the other in the world of business, Robbie seems uniquely prepared for the launch and growth of a perfume house. Indeed, after Espresso Royale and the first version of Immortal Meadow, Robbie took it slow, building a following, reaching out to distributors, developing a website and redesigning packaging. It would be a full two years before the next fragrances—Black Magic, Urban Legend and Wish Upon a Star—would be released.

As is often the case when people know you are a capable "maker" of something, friends and family begin putting their requests. Can you paint me a picture/knit me a sweater/build me a table? Can you make me a perfume? "I was asked by a cousin to create him something that smelled of the outdoors/nature, so I came up with Immortal Meadow," explains Robbie.

The fragrance was a hit, with both the cousin and a wider audience.  As is often the case when you create something good for somebody, they'll ask you to do it again. "He was very happy with Immortal Meadow and requested I make something of the same nature for his wife!" 

His wish was Robbie's command and thus came about Wish Upon A Star.

Many of our members have noted thematic similarities in Black Magic, Immortal Meadow and Wish Upon A Star, in particular the grass and the berry notes, though they're used to different effect in all three. Robbie acknowledges this, extending the Suspiria theme with a joke that references the film trilogy it is a part of: "Wish, Immortal and Magic are like the story of Dario Argento's three mothers!"

In reality, Wish Upon A Star is the lightest and most fanciful of the trio and Robbie's love of fantasy is fully expressed in this delightful fragrance. Robbie describes it best: "Wish Upon A Star is a scent meant for fantasies, pixies, and fairies. A world where dreams are made. The familiar smells in this scent will take you back to a time when all was right and nothing was impossible…when wishes were made from the heart. What is your wish?"

Wish Upon A Star is also the sweetest of the three, thanks to violet, magnolia and a little more sugar on the berries. Anise is a stand-out note in this one, keeping it firmly in the realm of a unisex scent and enhancing the gourmand aspects. Overall, Wish is a happy and uplifting fragrance, perhaps a good daytime alternative to Black Magic.

 

Thank you to everyone who left a comment!  The contest is over and congratulations to our two winners, chosen at random:

Black Magic:  tandaina

Wish Upon A Star: susanawaddell

I will contact the winners via PM regarding their prizes!

 

Sebastiane fragrances are available for purchase on the official website of the brand, which is currently offering a 30% discount if you use the code summer and at select retailers in the US, Canada and Europe.

All product images: Sebastiane

Jodi Battershell (NebraskaLovesScent or "NLS") is a lifelong Nebraskan who transplanted herself to Philadelphia after a lifetime on the Great Plains. An appreciator of fine fragrances since childhood, she tried her hand at natural perfumery and fragrance-mixing for a number of years, ultimately concluding she was better suited to appreciating the fragrance creations of others. She is pleased to finally be putting her English degree to use as a writer and editor for Fragrantica.com.

 

 

 MEH



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miracleborgtech
miracleborgtech

Love Sebastiane perfumes! I am continually impressed with his ability to create truly natural scents. They lend an aura that is like walking through a fragrant mist that refreshes both your senses and your mind. Haven't watched Suspiria yet but going to immediately!

Jul
12
2016
NebraskaLovesScent
NebraskaLovesScent

Thank you for all the great comments, folks!

Congratulations to our two winners!

Jun
29
2016
Nemophilist
Nemophilist

I haven't sampled any scents by this house yet, so would love to be entered for the chance to win a bottle. Thanks.

Jun
29
2016
allACes1
allACes1

The names alone are intriguing. Thanks for the review and chance:)

Jun
29
2016
susanawaddell
susanawaddell

My best friend wears Sebastiane Black Magic and she smells divine. How I would love to try these. The article makes me lust for Wish upon a star.

Jun
29
2016
spooneb
spooneb

I'm definitely interested in sampling this line.

Jun
28
2016
SumoTigerCat
SumoTigerCat

Will wear 'Black Magic' for the first time watching an Argento film, I promise (if I win)! These both sound really fantastic. Thanks for the chance to win them!

Jun
28
2016
interdite
interdite

I need to watch this movie.

Not in the US, so not entering, but good luck everyone!

Jun
28
2016
UnearthlyApothecary
UnearthlyApothecary

These scents sound wonderful, please count me in to win :)

Jun
27
2016
Jenavira
Jenavira

I love berry notes so I am intrigued by all of these.

Jun
27
2016
PipeDreams#1
PipeDreams#1

Love that a film inspired the black magic fragrance. As a huge fan of suspiria and inferno myself, I'd love to know what this smells like. Would love the chance to review and sample. Thanks for the chance.

Jun
27
2016
Hegemon
Hegemon

Spresso Royale is a great fragrance. I want to try the other ones.

Jun
27
2016
davitea
davitea

For some time now I'm trying to find a realistic smell of a wildflowers field.
I wonder it this Meadow might be it?
As for the Black Magic - any other connection with my beloved Magie Noire aside from the name?
I'd love to try them both.

Jun
26
2016
relder175
relder175

Roge,

Yes the hype around Espresso Royale!!!! This idea came from me buying double shot latte and adding hazelnut, and caramel monin syrup to it lol. Yes it seems to have taken on a life of its own. Espresso Royale is a representation of a coffee house beverage!

Everyone, my personal favorite is Black Magic!!

Thanks for entering everyone!

Best,
Robbie

Jun
26
2016
Roge'
Roge'

I've yet to try anything from this house. The hype around Espresso Royale has taken a life of it's own which makes everything from this brand that much more intriguing. Fingers crossed, let's see if luck is on my side......

Jun
26
2016
TylerTremallose
TylerTremallose

Oh these two seem very nice
I wanna own both as it seems like both I would wear!!

Enter me please and thanks for this opportunity!!

Jun
26
2016
seachase
seachase

So, Black Magic was inspired by Suspiria ?
How intriguing !
You can count me in.
I'll be watching my PMs very intensely.

Jun
26
2016
Kohla1
Kohla1

I have been wanting to purchase Espresso for some time now and plan on it when I am able to work again when I heal and have a steady paycheck but now I see Black Magic and want that too! Decisions Decisions! Which one should I get, any advice? UGH!

Jun
26
2016
charles_carmichael
charles_carmichael

I too am a big Argento fan - would love to win a bottle of black magic!

Jun
26
2016
Oamae
Oamae

Very interesting how Black Magic reminds you of your favorite head shop, whereas to the creator, it was created with dark & sexy + Suspiria in mind. Head shops can be dark and sexy, you just have to try? I wish I could smell Black Magic through the screen, really, just to see what a real life head shop smells like. Just kidding, I have been in one but really, how intriguing, I do still wish a few poofs of scent came out of the computer with this article. It must be heavy on the patchouli! Wish Upon A Star though, despite the lovely words about Black Magic and the inspiration, I would love to read more about it, so next you'll find me over in the reviews! If the notes and description weren't enough, it totally had me at 'The familiar smells in this scent will take you back to a time when all was right and nothing was impossible.' Thanks for giveaway, Robbie, and I really enjoyed the article, Jodi. Will have to add both of these to my list of scents to check out.

Jun
25
2016
CesareBorgia
CesareBorgia

This looks to be a great house. The two that interest me the most are Black Magic and Immortal Meadow. I'd watch the trailer, but it's just about bed time and I'd like to get a good nights sleep tonight.

Jun
25
2016
hunterblu
hunterblu

Imortal Meadow has been on my "to try" list for a while...in both formats if possible but I was unaware of Wish Upon A Star until this article. Thanks for bringing it to my attention as it looks lovely and is now also on the list and pushed up towards the top.

Roberts inspirations are wonderful and all his fragrances look delightful but as a major lover of any and all green/floral/fougere fragrances Imortal Meadow and Wish Upon A Star speak loudest to me (loving the grass, violet, magnolia, vetiver notes in WUAS).

Thanks Robert Eldar and Fragrantica for this opportunity and best of luck to everyone!

Jun
25
2016
Carrillatta
Carrillatta

I bought Espresso Royale when I was craving a coffee fragrance, and it is perfect -- exactly what I wanted. I would love to be able to try more from this house. They both sound so interesting -- and that is what I am looking for these days, something new and interesting.

Jun
25
2016
tungbet
tungbet

Black magic sounds nice.

Jun
25
2016
PersonalSpaceInvader
PersonalSpaceInvader

I'm absolutely enamored with Suspira (well, with Dario Argento in general) and I've skimmed Sebastiane's pages on Fragrantica before, but I've never made the connection! Just what I need: another scent inspired by a favorite horror movie! (Room 237 is one of my all time favorite scents)

Jun
25
2016
NathalieMireille
NathalieMireille

Exactly what doveskylark said. :-) (Plus I'll happily try Wish, too!)

Jun
25
2016
Dixie Jordan Art
Dixie Jordan Art

Have tried Roberts work & its FANTASTIC!
He's such a wonderful man & a real talent!
Ive wanted to buy full bottles of his scents,just haven'thad the funds :(

Jun
25
2016
doveskylark
doveskylark

I'm too scared to watch "Suspiria," but I'd love to try Black Magic.

Jun
25
2016
tandaina
tandaina

I have a small decant of Espresso Royale and love it, would love to try more!

Jun
25
2016
HeidiLynn
HeidiLynn

I'd never heard of this line; they sound amazing and I'd love to try one. Thanks for highlighting these!

Jun
25
2016
puddydad
puddydad

ANYTHING inspired by "Suspiria" has to be worth a try.

Jun
25
2016
nakedcity
nakedcity

Would love to try!

Jun
25
2016
Hyde65
Hyde65

I would love to try these! Thanks for the opportunity to try!!

Jun
25
2016
Akahina
Akahina

These sound really wonderful! I am all abot perfumers in the US. It seems that the most creative scents, free of European history, ideas and restrictions are the most interesting compositions being made today. Count me in please.

Jun
25
2016
Cvhpinup
Cvhpinup

Ballerinas and witches are my two favorite things! The wish upon a star smell sounds like how I imagine Francesca lia block would smell (favorite author)- great piece!

Jun
25
2016
lionceau
lionceau

Nice review! Thank you for the chance!

Jun
25
2016
relder175
relder175

Yes its been a year Keyvan! It's weird not seeing you now days. I hope you are doing well.

Jun
25
2016
bethanne
bethanne

What a great review!! I love horror movies and I love perfume. These sound wonderful!! Wish upon a Star especially!!

Jun
25
2016
snchamness
snchamness

Very nice to see a US perfumer receiving attention. I am very interested in trying these scents.

Jun
25
2016
K1
K1

Ah Robbie!
Espresso Royale, Urban Legend and all. One year passed buddy, if you're reading me here ;)
Keyvan

Jun
25
2016

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