Blog post by Gwen

Dirty Ginger – fresh and spicy and exciting

Heretic Parfums embossed packaging for 15 ml. -

Natural fragrances have gained popularity over the last few years, mainly because of consumer demand for ‘natural’ products. This has opened the door to many exciting new lines and fragrances, like Dirty Ginger from American niche fragrance brand Heretic Parfums.

Heretic Parfums was founded by Douglas Little in 2012. All the fragrances in the line are 100% natural, artisanal and unisex. When the first ones were launched in 2016, they caught the attention of a lot of the right people: Heretic Parfums was the first natural line of fragrances to be sold at Barney’s in New York, and Gwyneth Paltrow commissioned Douglas Little to create the first fragrances for her lifestyle brand ‘GOOP.’

And once he caught my attention, I wanted to learn more about Douglas Little. He was born in 1974 in Los Angeles. He says that he’s been obsessed with fragrance for as long as he can remember – the chemical smell of developer in his father’s dark room where he developed photos, the smell of frankincense in church, the flowers and herbs and dirt from working with his mother in the garden. So, in his twenties, he studied with Mandy Aftel, the pioneer of natural perfumes, followed his vision and launched Heretic Parfums.

Dirty Ginger is my current favourite from the line, but I expect there will be many others.

It opens with a nose-tingling note of spicy black pepper and zesty, floral-scented lime. As the pepper and lime mingle and merge, they’re joined by earthy, spicy cumin. The cumin has a sweaty-smelling facet that adds an animalic dimension to the pepper and lime. This is the ‘dirty’ part; now comes the ginger part. Juicy, fleshy, hot and spicy - the ginger here is bracing and exciting. It zings up through the top notes, and it is sublime! Shiso leaf, fresh and peppery, supports the ginger, highlights its green facet, and heightens the raw feistiness of it. A note of clove, warm and sweet, is a perfect counterpoint to the ginger. The perfect prelude to what comes next – earthy, woody, rooty vetiver – is the dirtiness hinted at by the cumin at the top. Dirty it may be, but it’s not dark or deep. It is more sensual than it is sexual. The base has a lightness to it from Palo Santo wood, which is related to frankincense, myrrh and copal. It has sweet notes of pine, mint and lemon. It’s that balsamy pine that stands out on me. Lavender-nuanced clary sage gives the fragrance a lovely sophistication.

The drydown is fresh, woody, exciting and sensuous. Everything works together, and nothing is out of place. 

Dirty Ginger gives me the impression that there is thoughtful intention behind the composition, and isn’t that what fine fragrance is all about?

Check out Dirty Ginger in our Shop.