Thursday, December 31, 2009

Full Blue Moon, Perfume Swoon


The New Year - Two Thousand and Zen - and a Starry-Moon Full Swoon

I've had my nose to the grindstone. There are so many projects, all with varied needs and timelines, I haven't had time to "keep up" with much that's going on. I do have my google alerts set to let me know when "Anya's Garden" pops up in the Internet, and I had to stop and pay attention in the past few days when one after another, alerts came in.

I had no idea there was a "Best of the Best 2009" plan among perfume bloggers, but my goodness, am I the beneficiary of some lovely mentions by them! One after another they flowed:

From the lovely Elena at Perfume Shrine blog:

Best of Niche: Anya's Garden Starflower A gourmand with guts! Unusual combination, great lasting power for an all-naturals.

Anya's Note: I was one of a number of niche perfumeries mentioned, but surely the tiniest microbusiness of all, so this knocked me out.

From a devoted lover of Anya's Garden Perfumes, thoughtful Maria of Bitter Grace Notes blog:

Best New Perfume: Moondance from Anya's Garden, of course. This gorgeous white floral proves that a natural perfume can be easy to love and satisfyingly complex. It also confirms that Anya is an extremely versatile perfumer. It's amazing that the same woman who created Temple and Fairchild also produced the ethereal Moondance.

Anya's Note: Yes, Temple and Fairchild are fierce and independent perfumes, quite a diff, eh? ;-)

From the beautylicious Gaia of The Non Blonde Blog:

Anya McCoy of Anya's Garden, an all-natural, uncompromising perfumer, has already brought us Kaffir and Pan, two of the most interesting and non-traditional scents I can think of (the first is a lime and leather concoction, the second is all about goat). Her two newest perfumes, MoonDance and StarFlower and stunning in their power, magic and pure sensuality. They are a must-try for any perfume lover.

Anya's Note: Gaia pegged me - uncompromising and non-traditional. Hey, I have several facets ;-)



Finally, not a "Best of the Best 2009" participant, Kevin of Now Smell This blog did make a nice gesture in my direction:
“Wish Came True”: First, a wish I made in 2008 came true in 2009; Anya’s Garden made a perky cologne version of its Kaffir Eau de Parfum (thanks!)

My little perfumery is only 3.5 years old, although I have been making and selling perfumes since the early 1990's (they were oil-based then). I've created several private label perfumes and couture lines, and many dozens of custom perfumes, but aside from lovely reviews, I've never scored any "Best of" year-end awards. I must say I'm humbled and encouraged. And as Mandy said "should be over the moon" ;-) yes, the MoonDance can do that, lol.

Most of all, I'm so deeply, deeply happy that natural perfumes - because several other natural perfumers were mentioned on several blogs - have now surfaced as a luxury commodity, an artform that we pour our talents, time and hearts into, now is so well-recognized.

As we move into Two Thousand and Zen, my predictions for the New Year are all positive. Thank you, dear bloggers for being so independently supportive of my perfumes, and natural perfumes in general. I only hope I can encourage many other shy natural perfumers to get their perfumes, body oils, lotions, soaps and other gorgeous products into your hands so that you can become acquainted with them. The community of natural perfumers is small and rather shy, yes, and I had to force myself to mail out all the samples on my birthday, so that MoonDance and StarFlower could get into some noses that traditionally love mainstream perfumes that contain synthetics. Well, it paid off, big time for me, and I hope others follow my lead, and be more proactive with promoting yourselves.

Happy New Year Everyone!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Beautifully Perfumed Home - and an Artisan Product


This holiday my home is scented with the heady, floral, spicy beauty of white tuberoses. I just got a shipment in of several hundred flowers, and I now have trays filled with the vegetable shortening and scented beauties.

I made several pomades "recharges" with this shortening last spring and summer, but I just wanted a bit more scent in the fat so this latest refreshing with flowers. I also had a tray worth left over for a student who stopped by, so she's going to get some more pomade going herself.

Ah, the fragrance. It's giving me two beautiful experiences: once when I'm putting the flowers in the tray, and later on when I wash the fat with alcohol and create a usable product for my perfumery.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery Institute: Registrations for February 2010 course now being taken

Distance Learning also available beginning February 2010 in addition to the two online study options at Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery Institute.

Registration applications and tuition payments for the Basic Natural Perfumery Course that will launch the end of February, 2010 are now being accepted.. The website is being rebuilt with more features than before, and it will be faster and more interactive for the online student.

The front pages of the course site have been posted with the new Syllabus, a Registration page, an informative Home Page, and Testimonials from former students. Started in 2007, Anya's Garden course is the first of its kind for natural perfumers. The online interactive aspect allows all the students to take part in the classes from their home base anywhere in the world. This feature allows the students to save money that might have been spent in traveling, while still enjoying the camaraderie of the other students and one-on-one contact with the instructor.

To read more about this extraordinary opportunity to learn the basics of classical perfumery techniques, read more on the Perfume Classes site.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery Institute: Student Registration Starts December 1, 2009



The next basic perfumery course offered by Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery Institute will commence in late February, 2010. The exact date will be announced at a later date. The revised syllabus and details on the course schedule will be available November 20, 2010.

The homepage for Perfume Classes.com has been updated and the latest information for the newly-revised curriculum can be found there. There are now three options for study:

Web-based:

1. An interactive, fast-paced course that is six-months long and
2. A self-paced option for those who wish to study on their own.

Distance learning non-web-based:

3. Textbook and kit supplied, no website access

Since the opening of the school in 2007, about one hundred students have enrolled, and dozens have received their certificate of completion. Since some students fell behind in their studies due to family, work or other issues, it was decided to open the self-paced option. Students can enroll at any time for that option, but the interactive course starts in February and requires a commitment to stay apace of the studies. If the student falls behind, they will be placed in the self-paced option.

Instructor Anya McCoy is an accomplished artisan natural perfumer with a history of helping people from all over the work learn about perfumery in the Yahoo group she has hosted since 2002, and her perfumes receive rave reviews from many perfume bloggers. Also available for individual consultation, she conducts her artisan perfumery from Miami Shores, Florida, where she maintains a garden of fragrant tropical plants, many used in her perfumes. Anya is the President of the Natural Perfumers Guild and in that role maintains a roster of the most respected names in perfumery, all dedicated to the use of natural aromatics.

All students will have full access to the numerous resources on the website as they move forward in their perfumery studies.

Registration is open to a limited number of students, and will begin December 1, 2009.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

StarFlower and MoonDance from Anya's Garden Perfumes Reviewed on Perfume Shrine - comment and you may win samples


Elena at Perfume Shrine reviewed MoonDance and StarFlower from Anya's Garden Perfumes, and if you leave a comment, you will be entered in a drawing to win samples - click here to read and enter

"Everything I do is Illegal" - relevant for food producers, perfumers, bath and body businesses and many other microbusinesses

With some chat going on following my blog yesterday quoting article showing the problems with government regulation in microbusinesses, especially businesses that produce items for our body, whether they be perfume, food, herbal medicine and the like, this great article Everything I Do is Illegal was sent to a busy herb list I'm on. He's a food producer - meat products, to be exact - and he's an intelligent voice calling for some common sense. Our country has turned into a corporate- and industrial- business machine, and the small businesses are being regulated out of business.

Regarding the post yesterday, the most chat is going on in the herb list. Herbalists are traditionally plant gatherers and processors. They're also traditionally a bit apart from mainstream society, aside from those who have grown their businesses into huge corporations, such as the ones mentioned in the Cruel Stepmother and Good Father Who Will Not See article. Many of us are familiar with them, and are happy that they have brought the healing power of herbs to the general public, but we can also wonder what their success means to the little herb company trying to comply with the GMP regs that are unfriendly to small businesses.

Microbusinesses must be allowed to exist and prosper in our country. The herbalists are happy that they feel they can find ways to fly under the radar of the FDA. But I ask should they be forced to go underground, become outlaws in a sense? What's wrong with warning labels? What's wrong with concessions for microbusinesses?

If "fight" is too strong a word for some who may think that capitulating to legislator's whims and the FDA's edicts, I disagree. This country was formed on the notion of fighting for our rights. Don't let the cooing sounds of some fool you - you must fight.

So what does fighting mean? It doesn't mean attacking your legislator verbally, of course it doesn't! It means putting some backbone in yourself, getting off your rear end and going to work for the cause - rolling back regulations and working to get microbusiness-friendly regs in place.

Fifth English Language Article by Famed Perfumer Edmond Roudnitska uploaded to Anya's Garden Perfumes site

The latest in the series of articles in English has been uploaded to Anya's Garden Perfumes, and in it Mr. Roudnitska shares his thoughts and philosophy on "Concerning the Circumstances Favorable to the Creation of an Original Perfume" from Perfumer and Flavorist Magazine April/May 1984.

Just click the link above to view it and the four previous articles in PDF form for download.

The next article is quite large at 48 pages. It will take me some time to scan it all, and I hope I figure out the way to create PDFs in bits and pieces so I can scan over time, not having to sit down for a marathon scanathon! If anyone can help me with the logistics, I'd appreciate it.

Lovely series: North American Originals: Perfumers on Fall &Winter



Natural Perfumers Guild President Anya McCoy is featured on The Scented Salamander website series: North American Originals:Perfumers on Fall & Winter.

Anya's Garden Perfume's two new colder season scents, MoonDance and StarFlower are explained in Part Two

From the Scented Salamander:
American perfumery is as varied as its landscape. One of its most notable traits is the fact that in spite of the presence of giant corporations like Coty or Estée Lauder, there exists a strong breed, I am tempted to say, of independent perfumers who appear by contrast even more like the necessary missing pieces of a vast puzzle. And without them, one could argue, American perfumery would be forgetting the flip side of anonymous efficiency, large-scale organization and big business, that is, originality, primitivism, naïveté, a sense of community, intimacy, individualism and let us not forget, the can-do attitude. If we only had the big labels, we would still have rivers of perfume, but we would have less of a certain moral spirit, the individualist one. And I don't know really what is America without the individual.

She or he is like the flavor of home-grown local herbs added to a standard national recipe.

Nonetheless, we still need the giants because without the Leviathans, perfumery would not be as democratic an art, a pleasure and a way of life. Mass-marketed perfume may be a French invention borne out of the intuitions of François Coty, he who knew perfume could both be a sign of luxury and a household name, but mass-market perfumery particularly thrives in the United-States thanks to sheer size and a deep culture of consumerism.

Ultimately, the ideals of democracy and pluralism that are the bread and butter of the American psyche open up enough room for independent perfumers to be not isolated and too rugged but an expression of a particular sensitivity.

In this series we meet with a number of North-American indie perfumers who reveal a naturalistic approach. They can be distinguished from so-called "niche perfumers" easily by realizing that their reference point is their own personal experiences. Indie perfumers are more hands-on and are usually less inspired by a tradition, genres, a cannon or the market. And as far as independent perfumery goes, this means to me also that independent perfumers make their perfumes themselves almost from scratch, even sometimes devising their own ingredients or searching for new sources of natural inspirations in their self-cultivated gardens. Due to this sensitivity to the naturalist context, their catalogs tend to be colored, more or less explicitly, by real-world references like the seasons in an impressionistic sense, or the fruits of the seasons. Some of these perfumers have extensive libraries of scents, others concentrate on a more compact collection.

To develop one step further the food metaphor, American Originals are more like non-processed food. Even though indie perfumers do not necessarily use only natural ingredients, the creative process itself seems more natural and unmediated. An art of the vignette is born where nature is approached in an interpersonal manner, where scents refer to a precise point in time, evoke warm, nostalgic memories.

After asking a group of independent perfumers for their thoughts on Fall & Winter fragrances, I have weaved their voices and their beautiful words into a virtual conversational exchange. Some perfumers who have contributed longer answers, I have taken the liberty to interrupt for a day to let them pursue their thoughts on the next not because what they said was too long but because it creates a balance and a rhythm, a journal-like quality that echoes for me, the charm of truly seasonal fragrances as natural clocks of time, images of the ebb and flow of the days.

I will add short bios on the last day of the series.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Evil Stepmother and the Father Who Will Not See - the FDA/GMP is out to perpetuate the eternal scenario


As many of you know, I have fought for years against the creeping corporate takeover of indie and microbusinesses. Just search on this blog for IFRA, EU, FDA Globalization Act and government. The future of our businesses is in immediate danger. I am horrified that several organizations that represent indie and microbusinesses are in lockstep with the FDA and tweeting and blogging about their 'victories" with legislators, either blinded or too blind to see the horrible demise in store for our businesses - they should be fighting the FDA, not kowtowing to it, giddy with "making progress". They're not, they're being fooled.

Please everyone - don't be the frog in the pot of cool water who never feels the heat being turned up until it is too late and he's cooked.

Read this following speech, given at the International Herb Symposium by Stephen Buhner and pass it around, and more importantly, ask those who are all puffed up and happy that the FDA and legislative lackeys of the corporate world that seeks to destroy our businesses why they don't see this coming:

http://www.gaianstudies.org/documents/IHSOPEN.pdf

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Antique Tonquin Musk bottle win

This delicate and lovely bottle arrived in the mail yesterday, and yes, there is some scent in it and some grains and residue. The grains and residue coat the inside about 1.5 inches up the sides, roughly the same height as the label. The overall bottle is 6.25 inches tall. I have never seen a Fritzsche bottle with this design. The label reads: FRITZSCHE BROTHERS, Inc. Essences and Essential Oils ~ Fine Drugs and Chemical Preparations ~ Tonquin in Grains. Moisture More Than 15%. The next part really caught my attention: The bottle is clear at the top with heavy dark brown residue on the bottom. There is a little brown string around the top.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this on Ebay, and further surprise I won it with a rather low bid, and there were only two other bidders. I got it for $11 and change and with shipping, it was under $20.

Musk is now illegal because the collection of the pods required the killing of the musk deer. These small lovely animals were slaughtered by the thousands for the perfumery and Chinese medicine trade. Nowadays there are farms for the collection of the pods for Chinese medicine and the pods are harvested by laparoscopic surgery, and the deers are of course, not killed, and survive to produce more pods.

The scent of musk was added to perfumes lavishly for centuries, but wiht the CITES agreement, disappeared from commercial perfumes in the 1970's. Some musk is making its way into the market from the Chinese. I have small samples of some recent Tonquin musk and I can compare it to the Kashmiri musk that someone collected about 20 years ago. They are different in scent, quite different.

Here's another view of my new bottle. Both photos are from the Ebay seller. I'm going to pour some 190 proof organic grain alcohol into the bottle today, filling just up to where the residue stops. I hope to get a weak tincture and enjoy the look into the past, while yes, feeling very sad of the unnecessary slaughter of the deers that took place to make this odorant/fixative possible in those days.

Perhaps sometime in the near future the humane harvest of the pods by the Chinese can provide a small amount of this prized and fragrant material be made available.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Third English language article by Edmond Roudnitska - "The Novice and His Perfume Palette" available


The third of six article in English by famed perfumer Edmond Roudnitska has been uploaded to Anya's Garden Perfumes website. Titled "The Novice and His Perfume Palette", it was published by Dragoco in 1982. In it you will find a methodology that I believe is still used in perfume classes at Givaudan, pioneered by Jean Carles and Roudnitska. If any perfume historian can corroborate this, I would be happy to publish the information.

Both self-taught perfumers, Carles and Roudnitska pioneered a strict methodology to teach novice perfumers how to learn the scent/memory association. In the Dragodo article, Roudnitska strives to share his take on how the context of fragrance families helps the beginner learn both context and association.

I have used a method like this since the beginning of my classes in natural perfumery. I devised forms to record the information gleaned from the study, and progressed on to the methodology I formulated to take the beginner step-by-step into the lifelong learning process that a perfumer must pursue.

More will be published later this week here on this blog about my upcoming classes, since sign up will start in late November/early December. Classical French perfumery study methodology adapted for natural aromatics are the core curriculum in my course, and I'm happy to share the seminal work by Roudnitska that made this all possible.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Second English Language Edmond Roudnitska Article Available - "Perfumery and Marketing"


Second Edmond Routnitska article available for download at Anya's Garden -
"Perfumery and Marketing"

Written in 1970, "Perfumery and Marketing" is the second in a series of six articles by Edmond Roudnitska that are being made available for the first time on the Internet. Michel Roudnitska, Edmond's son and a renowned perfumer in his own right, was kind enough to share them with me when I inquired about the availability of English language writings by his father.

The articles are available in PDF format, which requires Adobe Reader. Please feel free to spread the word about these treasures, because for so long those of us who only speak English, or have English as a second language, but not French as a first, have been unable to take in his wisdom.

I have scanned the articles to the best of my ability while still attempting to minimize their size for those with slow downloads. I have found that with the two articles so far that even though they are a big hazy to read on the computer screen, they print out beautifully.

The next article, which I will make available towards the end of next week will be very exciting for perfumery students. I did smile when I read it, since many of the studio conditions, family associations and other elements I teach are laid out by him decades before - and much more skillfully and beautifully written than my instructions, too. :-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Giveaway - 3.5ml pure perfume from Anya's Garden to a random pick of new newsletter subscribers



Here's a quick, fun giveaway - sign up for the Anya's Garden Perfumes newsletter between now and Sunday October 25, 2009 9PM EST USA and you'll be in the random drawing to receive a 3.5ml pure perfume from my line. If you are already a newsletter subscriber, I'll have a random giveaway next week for you folks, and I think a full set of perfume samples with my new labeling will be perfect!

Just go to http://anyasgarden.com/signup.htm to subscribe.

Please know I don't send many newsletters out, so you will have no worry there, and I often have newsletter-only offers and giveaways, so it's a great deal for you ;-)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Treasures to Share: English Language Works by Perfumer Edmond Roudnitska

Edmond Roudnitska
image courtesy Art et Parfum site


Many English-only-speaking perfumers have commented on various internet forums that they are frustrated by the fact that they cannot read the written works of famed French perfumer Edmond Roudnitska. His books, L'Intimit du Parfum and L'Esthtique en Question and L'Esthtique du Parfum, when they are available, are only in French. An essay in English was published in the 1974 book Perfume by William I. Kaufman, and that is where I first became acquainted with his writing, and I have reread that essay many, many times over the years.

A chapter from Perfumes: Art, Science and Technology edited by Lamparsky and Muller is available via Google books but I was very frustrated at only able to see a portion of a page at a time, so I gave up trying to read it. Reading off a screen really strains my eyes.

So I wrote to Edmond's son, Michel, a renowned perfumer in his own right, asking if he knew of any English language articles by his father, having heard of some Dragco Reports, and he promptly offered me what Dragco reports and other published works he had on hand. Michel has an interview with his father that appeared in English in the National Geographic in 1995 on his site Art et Parfum that is quite wonderful to read.

The works of the father and son are listed on Now Smell This.

The articles arrived today, six in total, and I am very excited by these treasures. Michel stipulated that they are to be shared, and I am working on scanning them and uploading them in PDF form for everyone.

One of them is the 48-page long chapter from Perfumes: Art, Science and Technology! This is going to take a lot of time, since I am handling the paper very carefully to preserve its quality. I have scanned just one so far, the earliest, from 1969. Reprinted from the S.P.C Year Book the title is "Where Are We Going?" You can find it on my website for downloading. It was good to start out with a short - four pages - because I am not very PDF-savvy, and I wish to find the most efficient, clear method for scanning them, and if anyone can assist me with technical advice, I would appreciate it.

In the meantime, please enjoy this forty-year-old article, previously unpublished, as far as I can tell, on the Internet, now available to everyone. Wonderful!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Temple Perfume Reviewed at Fragrantica "is strong and monumental, like a grandiose and centuries-old tree - a temple built by Nature."

This is the image I have used for Temple Perfume since its release

I haven't released new perfumes for over a year now. I believe each perfume should be a work of art, not just an exercise in fragrance creation. I create fragrances all the time, accords both vertical and horizontal, and I've not a notion to release them. Every perfume I release must have a definite purpose of expression and intent.

When I recently sent out my two latest perfumes, MoonDance and StarFlower, to media reviewers, I also sent samples of m previous creations to reviewers who were not familiar with my line.

Elena Knezhevich of Fragrantica fell in love with Temple and reviewed it today. Temple is the first, and so far, the only aromatherapy perfume I created. At the time, with hurricanes, wildfires, illnesses, wars, earthquakes and so many other shocks upon the human race seemingly coming at us at record speed, I wanted to draw upon my knowledge of specific scents that could calm and center a person, and Temple was the result.

At the time I wrote: "The rays of hope and focus empower and the steady verdant earth beneath the feet gives faith that the path may be sturdy and firm. Find strength in yourself, be your own Temple." *and* "Blended along both Ayurvedic and Buddhist systems, Temple is a limited-edition perfume that is specially made for all of the survivors of the many physical disasters that have wrecked communities in the USA. It is hoped it will give courage in the face of post-traumatic stress syndrome that affects the survivors - I know, because I, the perfumer, am one of them. "

Marlen Harrison of the Perfume Critic website, interviewed me some time back and we spoke about Temple perfume.

Today, in the Yahoo group I host for Natural Perfumery, Patti G, a longtime customer and a lover of Temple wrote:
Okay, I read the review, well put, but I don't know if this is good news for you or perhaps selfishly bad news for me, I was so well pleased when Anya wrote she had been able to acquire additional Aged precious oud, therefore able to continue to offer temple.  So, knowing that component is not so easily acquired, I'm not certain if I want Temple to be overly well known, therefore hard to acquire, or kept a fantastic secret.  Really Anya I continue to love this perfume, I have a little less than half a bottle remaining and that's only because I'm a bit stingy in using it.  I who am 55, still have sleepovers of girlfriends who I offer a dash of this to take to bed with them, now they just ask me if I forget.  It's a powerful sleep journey accompaniment."

Patti

Nothing to add - this just makes me so happy.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

What do you want? What you get - Gardenia is again available for perfumers.

All gardenias are not the same. Modern natural perfumery has a growing selection of raw materials from different species and varieties of gardenia to choose from, and we're all the better because of it.


This image typifies the gardenia perfume fragrance we all want: lush, sensual, wanton, spicy, buttery, floral, intoxicating, over-the-top and proud of it. The creamy, green, almost-obnoxious scent of the full-blown gardenia that is common in gardens, the cultivated Gardenia jasminoides aka Gardenia augusta:


Gardenia jasminoides aka Gardenia augusta

In the early-to-mid part of the 20th century, there were a few who produced gardenia absolute form the G. jasminoides/augusta. Story has it that the advent of World War II and the discovery of synthetic aromachemicals that mimicked the scent of gardenia put an end to the natural gardenia absolute.

In the early 21st century, with the rise of natural perfumery, the demand for a gardenia absolute arose again. I am enfleuraging gardenias, and have received a sample of some very pricey Gardenia tahitensis that is lovely, a true Tahitian gardenia fragrance, but not G. augusta/florida by any means. I have T. tahitensis and even T. vietnamensis growing in my garden, too, and am enfleuraging them. But there is a richness, a lactonic creaminess and diffusive greenness that is missing in them.

Tahitian Gardenia - G. tahitensis aka "Tiare" flower

I use a picture of an G. vietnamensis on every page of my website, it is to lovely and startling and iconic - a white flower that sings "look at me, smell me, I'm beautiful." Heck, isn't that the phrase that can easily describe why we all wear perfume? ;-)
Gardenia vietnamensis

I've made several gardenia accords that mimic the first image of gardenia, shown above, and they contain hints and bits of the many facets of gardenia: galbanum, sugar, wintergreen, butter, milk, jasmine, clove, sandalwood, osmanthus, tuberose, grape fruitiness and many more. These have been used in custom perfumes, since the cost and complexity doesn't lend itself to ready-made perfumes.

Using the alcohol-washed enfleurages of the Vietnamese flower adds the much-needed true gardenia base, but truly, nothing gives the "oomph" and grandeur of the natural gardenia flower in the garden, or the one brought inside to float in a bowl of water. It's iconic, powerful and not easy to imitate.

I suppose I could look up the GCMS analyses of gardenias that I have, but chemistry is not my thing. I'm an artistic creator who sniffs and adds a bit of this a dab of that, and I'm sure many more chemistry-savvy folks have tried to use the GCMS route but I don't know of any who succeeded, so I'm happy in my endeavors, knowing that I have satisfied several clients who were very discriminating and educated about naturals and accepting of the exacting doppelgangers I created.

Now there are gardenia concretes and absolutes out of China, where they have, in timely and enterprising response to worldwide demand for a real gardenia raw material, started to produce them.

My understanding is that they're using a rather simple cultivar of Gardenia jasminoides, the 5-petaled species that is found in many northern climates of the world. The product is quite lovely, and much like the tahetientis, and my attempts, lacking in the true lushness and complexity of the multi-petaled varieties that we humans have selected out over the centuries to satisfy our cravings for uber gardenias, those that knock us out with their power and overwhelming scent. Below is a picture of the type of gardenia the Chinese are using, and pretty as it is, you can see that is is a sweet, pale version of the blockbuster we know and love.

Gardenia jasminoides type the Chinese are using for their extractions

The Chinese gardenia concrete and absolute are much more affordable than the Tahitian - about 1/6th the price. I have diluted my concrete and absolute and am playing with them now, adding some of my own enfleurage materials, using some of the bouquetting notes mentioned above to round out and give more depth and richness to them. We can only hope that this new type of entrepreneurship as shown by the Tahitians and the Chinese continues to grow and provide us with greater and more dynamic gardenia essences.

This is not to say that the Tahitian and Chinese and individual enterprises, such as my own are not without merit: there is no law that says only the boombastic gardenia we know in our gardens and as corsages and floating room fragrances are the only gardenias. The beauty of Tahitian and the simple Chinese gardenias is outstanding on its own, and both deserve a place in perfumery.

I received samples of the Chinese gardenia concrete from both the supplier and also from a retail supplier who is a member of the Natural Perfumers Guild, Essentially Me in the UK. The Tahitian gardenia absolute was a gift from a UK-based natural perfumer. I encourage anyone who is a natural botanical perfumer to keep up with the newest developments and perhaps in a year or two we'll see very lovely gardenia perfumes offered to the public. Perhaps in a time frame longer than a year or two we'll see the revival of the truly magnificent Gardenia augusta as a raw perfumery material, and we'll be able to enjoy that version of the gardenia scent also.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Perfume Design: Anya's Garden MoonDance and StarFlower: Evolution and Morphing


MoonDance - an Evolutionary Style Perfume


StarFlower - a Morphing Style Perfume

I recently-launched StarFlower and MoonDance, two fragrances that were designed in two very different ways. There is a historic perfume style that is classic: evolution. Most traditional perfumery schools and textbooks teach that a perfume should evolve smoothly, transiting from top to base notes, with a heart that melds them together. My MoonDance perfume is blended in that manner, and as one reviewer wrote me privately "is very subtle in the changes." That is the exact effect I was looking for.


The lovely, fragrant MoonFlower (not to be confused with MoonDance!) slowly unfolds in an evolution that is subtle and beautiful. The tiny bud slowly opens to reveal a larger version of itself, color intact, form barely changed over time. The pointed petal tips, arranged in a rounded, clock-like fashion, softly blend into the overall form of the fully-emerged flower. There is an innate, sophisticated beauty to such an evolution, and nature has given a hint of the final shape from the tiniest bud form of the flower.

StarFlower perfume was designed to morph dramatically, to showcase my artistic vision how the innocent-looking beguiling white flowers can trick you into coming closer for a sniff, only to reveal their sultry, sexy undercurrent. Another writer picked up on this immediately writing "it starts out sprightly, and turns dark and carnal." Wonderful! Exactly what I was going for.


This image helps convey the reasoning behind the design of StarFlower perfume - it might start out "sprightly" with lemon, cherry and almond notes, but it quickly starts to morph into something bigger, deeper, darker, voluminous.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

When A Perfume Customer Needs Some Guidance


Anya's Garden Perfume Sampling Suggestion List


I created a new card that I include when mailing out samples of my perfume. Realizing that a whiff of Fairchild could overwhelm the nose if the next whiff was a delicate perfume like Pan, I decided to create the card to guide my customers through a 'vertical flight' of scent intensity.

Not saying Pan perfume is weak - it's not at all. It's cozy and musky and a cult favorite. It's longlasting and extremely wearable, too. It's just that on a scent intensity scale of 1 to 5, it's a 3 and Fairchild is a 4. Definitely a 4, bordering on a 5, which I reserve for Kaffir and StarFlower.

The perfumistas on the Perfume of Life forum are chatting in a thread that was started today that touches upon this, comparing wine descriptives to perfume terms, so I joined in with the intensity factor, which I feel is very important.

It's good to keep this in mind if you're visiting a perfume counter and have an array of perfumes to choose from. Ask the SA if she could rank them by scent intensity, and if she doesn't understand the concept, explain that Gucci Rush is on the high end, and Thierry Mugler Cologne on the low end. Hope she/he gets it and you can enjoy a sensible, logical way to spritz and evaluate.

Monday, October 05, 2009

MoonDance Perfume from Anya's Garden: a sexy slow dance



MoonDance Perfume Launched October 5, 2009 to celebrate Anya McCoy's birthday and the next "perfume as art reflecting life" phase of Anya's Garden Perfumes

Cool, sophisticated romantic love, as you slowly dance under the full moon, and a sweet and long-forgotten memory of eternity emerges from MoonDance. Sweet violet flowers, a touch of mint, sulty tuberose and sambac and the iconic accord of rose and apple-scented chamomile softly radiate over a woody, sultry base.

Top notes: American Violet Flower Isolate, Indian Water Mint

Middle notes: French Tuberose, Chinese Jasmine Sambac, French Rose de Mai, American Chamomile

Base notes: Carolina Ambergris, Haitian Sandalwood, Sustainable White Sandalwood, South African Hyrax


MoonDance is now my signature scent. I originally conceived this perfume at the end of 2007, and thought I'd release it in 2008, along with StarFlower. They're both homages to tuberose, that heady, swoon-inducing and sensual flower from Mexico. During the modifications of MoonDance I felt a need to go sweeter, softer and more lunar, if you will. Why not? The name evokes a very yin quality of surrender, and surrender to the soft, yielding call of the MoonDance I did.

The arrival of a glorious opoponax absolute created the perfect creamy, resiny base I wanted to cushion the perfume - along with an incredible white sandalwood I sourced from old wood reserves. And, in a moment of impetuous fun, I double-dosed the ambergris at the final blending! Sometimes the moon just takes over and you have to surrender to your impulses, yes?


I think that the inclusion of a touch of water mint at the opening was needed, even though I found that the heart was reaching up and creating the topnotes from heaven. If you're slow dancing in a garden, maybe there is a tiny bit of mint, wet and sprightly underfoot, and your step will gently release the scent, but you are already enveloped in the waft of the jasmine sambac, rose and tuberose. What's that? A hint of apple? The siren call of tuberose? How delightful! Your recognition of the floral dance of violet flowers makes the rapture complete.

Admission: I frequently lie in the garden at night here in tropical Miami, enjoying the sultry scents that sweep around in the evening air. I also harvest a lot of my night-blooming beauties then, and have for many years. Neighbors are used to seeing me out there at midnight, carefully harvesting the scented wonders of the dark.

MoonDance is my perfume that most closely resembles the fragrance of my back garden which is the more secluded place of private midnight reveries and dances. I will be wearing it every day this month in honor of my birthday, my perfumery and my desire to create art that reflects my life and gardens.

To celebrate the launch of Moondance, all perfume sample sets are $35 and individual perfume samples $5 during the month of October. No need to enter a code, just checkout. All full bottles of perfumes and botanicals are 10% off. Use the code moondance at checkout. I hope you will enjoy a slow dance in the moonlight, a MoonDance of beauty and nighttime pleasures.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

StarFlower Perfume is Released by Anya's Garden - a Floral and Foodie Tribute to Mexico

StarFlower Perfume and EdP Fragrances Launched by Anya's Garden Perfumes:
An Homage to Mexican aromatics


The tuberose flower has always captivated me. When nighttime comes, and the fragrance billows out into the night air, few can remain stoic in its presence. The alluring beauty of the strong, spicy scent can draw people to it like moths to a flame.

A native of Mexico, the tuberose has spread across the world, thriving in many climates, from the tropics to the coldest termperate zones, so many know its beauty. In Mexico, they also know its flavor, because they have used it in sweet treats for recorded history. I first became aware of its use in ice cream from an 18th Century book Encarnación's Kitchen: Mexican Recipes from Nineteenth-Century California, and further research showed its use in other sweet desserts.

My perfume musings got me to thinking, well, let's see how it would pair with vanilla and chocolate, two other tasty and fragrant offerings from Mexico. All I can say is that the yummy-ness of these wonderful aromatics is synergy in action. The star doesn't need to shine - the tuberose is happy to play the part of the seamless unctuous heart of the confection - er, perfume. So strong and assertive are these beauties that they can be detected even through the tickling opening notes of bitter almond and lemon. Stir in some maple flavor, and you have yourself a delightful and enjoyable perfume that will bring a smile to your face.

But listen - it's not all girly girly and frothy sweetness. There is a silken, sexy ribbon of warmth and more than a hint of animalic hormones at play in StarFlower. After all, this perfume contains many of the scents on a sort of 'forbidden' list - tuberoses were believed to make virtuous girls go bad, and well, chocolate and vanilla play a part in many seductive desserts.

I'll post some recipes for tuberose soon, but don't be mistaken, I'm not the "happy hands in the kitchen" type of perfumer - I want my perfumes to seduce and bewitch on their own, to take your mind to the hidden memories and engrammes you have about these olfactory delights, translating the connection between the tongue and the nose to your heart.

Photo from my private collection, taken about four years ago, now the splash page on my website.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Natural Perfumers Guild member Allured Business Media offering 20% off books


Allured Business Media offering 20% discount until Dec. 31, 2009

If you are a perfumer, flavorist, perfumista, spa owner, formulator of body care products, in the fragrance field or any related industry, you'll be happy to know that Natural Perfumers Guild member Allured Business Media, a leading source of publications, monographs, CDs and other educational and industrial materials for the industry is once again offering a great discount to readers of this blog. However, please feel free to spread the word about the discounts to other websites, as this great deal is also meant to reach the bigger internet audience.

Now through December 31, 2009, you can get 20% off any book by using the code Anya20 at checkout. Your discount won't show up until you click through the checkout process. Just click here to see the wealth of reading materials offered in this special deal. Hope you have some great publications in your hands soon, thanks to them!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Trademark Silliness - squatting on common words makes no sense, morally or otherwise, just looks petty

Trademark squatters over common words are so out of control. A few years ago, I was threatened by Bond No. 9 owner Laurice Rahme's attorneys because I named one of my perfumes Riverside, and she claimed control over the name Riverside in fragrance due to her Riverside Drive. I simply changed the name to RiverCali.
Then another perfumer got heat from the same attorneys over the use of the word "Peace" in a perfume, because again, Rahme claimed the word was hers alone to use. If you google Anya's Garden, Rahme, trademark, you'll find many bloggers covered this issue. I didn't have the money or inclination to fight Rahme, but now the squatters fight is getting lots of press and money thrown at it.

Two folks with lots of money are going to battle, and the squatter lost the first round. Who in the heck thinks its reasonable to squat on the word "nude"? I have termed the word "squatter" for the omnivorous trademarker who, like those who squat on website registrations of the names of famous folks are deemed squatters. It's just wrong, IMHO.

What's next? "homme", "spring", etc., any and every common word in any language?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Lilac Flower CO2 - Disappointment, Yet Hope

New Lilac Flower CO2 too faint and too short-lived - but let's keep hoping!

I was very excited to be offered a sample of an ambitious extraction that could have rocked the natural perfumery world - a CO2 form of lilac flowers. The only lilac flower scent in perfumery is synthetic, and many of us long for the ethereal, green sweet tangy floral note on our perfume organ.

The CO2 is a pale yellow wax, and at first sniff out of the bottle, I was pleasantly surprised - true lilac scent! No indolic undernotes, either, showing that the flowers had been harvested and quickly extracted before the musky, rank indoles could develop.

I invited a student over for the formal organoleptic evaluation. We used the sheets I designed for my online perfumery course, and we sat down with high hopes. She wasn't very familiar with lilacs, coming from a part of the country where they don't grow, so I knew this would be interesting!


First we smeared a little bit of the wax on the broad end of the scent strip, saving the dipping end for the second eval of the diluted wax. At first, the wax was very faint, and we only rated it a "1" on the intensity scale, out of 1 to 5, 5 being a very strong, intense scent. Then I made a rough 50/50 dilution of some of the wax in 190 proof alcohol. It dissolved rather quickly, as CO2s tend to do. We dipped our scent strips and disappointment showed on both our faces.

The interesting thing was that she could only use "fragipani" as a scent reference for the floral component, her being very familiar with fragipani absolutes, unaware of what lilac smells like. I could see the fragipani component, but I got true lilac. And paper. We also noted a fresh, green crisp scent which I do recognize as part of the lilac blossom. After just a few minutes the scent was gone on the strip, but seemed a little stronger on the wax-smeared paper. How unusual.

This company is experimenting with new extractions, and I'm going to encourage them to continue with the lilac flowers. With practice and experimentation I hope they'll be able to produce a produce of a higher scent intensity that lasts longer. At this point in time, I just view their efforts as beginners luck in so much as they did capture a pure, clean lilac scent, but improvement is needed to create a market-worthy product.


Friday, July 24, 2009

A Lovely New Book for Artisan Perfumers - Artisan Perfumery by Alec Lawless


Artisan Perfumery
or
Being Led by the Nose

by
Alec Lawless


I'm on vacation, so this won't be a long review, but I just had to get the word out on Alec Lawless' new book, Artisan Perfumery or Being Led by the Nose. The title should give a hint of his humorous approach to the subject of artisan perfumery, and he is consistent throughout the book with his sly wink at the industry, of which he's been a part of for over twenty years.

The co-owner of Aqua-Oleum, along with his ex-wife, famed aromatherapy author Julia Lawless, Alec knows where the greatest aromatics are to be found, either in essential oil, concrete or absolute form, and after years of playing with the essences, began blending. He has a wonderfully relevant background in wine appreciation, and some of his observations on scent and perception, working in his love of sensory and psychology topics, are eye - and nose - openers.

Lest I forget, the book's cover, a small piece of an original artwork he also sells, is pointedly evocative of the lush and beautiful nature of naturals, jasmines and lotus being the cover focus, more aromatics depicted on the full canvas. I have an order in for a print - ah, if only I could have gotten this artwork for my book. Well, I know all current and potential authors of perfumery books will be envious of the artwork, as they will be of his background and travels in search of aromatics, which he freely shares.

Some of the idiomatic British English terms in the book were mysteries to me, but the author speaks clearly, in his own conversational tone throughout, as if you're sitting down with an old friend who is a raconteur sharing all of his devilishly funny observations, so you just slide past them. You'll get the full meaning where it counts, so you'll come away bursting with ideas from the positive and inspirational stories.

Although Alec dips slightly into the world of aromachemicals, and admits he uses them at about 1% in his own blends at Essentially Me, his focus is on naturals. I love that he's incorporated Jean Carles study methodology, and for the first time, to my knowledge, a GC/MS and how to read one appears in a contemporary book!

I just found a page on his perfumery site that combines the book and samples of his perfume. The books is reasonably priced at £9.99, with samples, £19.99

Alec shares some wonderful insights in aging and "softening" alcohol for perfumery that any artisan perfumer would find educational. After speaking with him the other day, I hope I convinced him to create a short video of how to use the pipettes sold on the Essentially Me website. He readily agreed, and I have a feeling that we'll be hearing a lot more of this fellow who has burst on to the artisan perfumery scene with a book, a perfumery raw materials and lab equipment website and decades of knowledge to share.

Natural Perfumers Guild members receive a 10% discount on purchases from Aqua Oleum and Essentially Me, and will also enjoy Alec sharing his knowledge in the private Guild Yahoo chat group. Welcome to our Guild and thank you for producing this lovely book for all artisan perfumers to enjoy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Lovely New Aromatic for the Perfumers - Omumbiri resin

Omumbiri resin

The Yahoo Natural Perfumery Group I host is a diverse, huge collection of lovers of natural aromatics from around the world. Recently, a member from South Africa wrote about a resin that is collected by the women of the Himba tribe of Namibia that shows promise in perfumery. The Himba collect the resin of Commiphora wildii - common name Omumbibi - to make body perfumes for themselves from this lovely fragrance material. It's related to myrrh, but has a lighter, fresher scent. The Himba mix the resin with fat, a process we can equate with an unguent, much like those known in ancient Egypt.

Estee Lauder, Robertet and other large corporations have been investigating use of Omumbibi resin for a few years. Thankfully, Sophia, our NP Yahoo group member, was able to connect with the organization that is set up to protect the Himba and their aromatic resin and obtain some for experimentation by natural perfumers. This is the same organization that the corporations have been working with.

Anya's Garden Perfumes were approved as an evaluator, as were several others, inlcuding some incense makers and distillers. My 700 grams arrived yesterday. The resins are divided into seven different "grades" for want of a better word, based on color and size. After I examine and evaluate the resins under different conditions - warming for incense, tincturing for alcoholic extract, and distillation for essential oil - I will report back to the organization. All who received the resins signed a release form that specifies our obligations to them re: our findings, and I regard this as a very good stance for them to take in protecting the property of the Himba. We are also not to sell any of the resin, but who can imagine a natural perfumer or botanical incense creator parting with any of this precious initial shipment? Not me ;-)

The first thing I did was to get out the new device that Natural Perfumers Guild member Katlyn Breen of Mermade Magikal Arts is promoting as a quick and easy tool to evaluate resins and woods. The Aromatic Vaporizer Kit (AVK) is a breeze to use! What a clever gadget that can be used anywhere, anytime. The funny thing is it was a while before this old hippie realized what the AVK was first developed for, but let's stick to resins and incense at this time, LOL.



The AVK gently warming the golden nugget of Omumbiri resin - lovely scent, a bit of citrus and incense.

I then switched to the black Omumbiri resin, and here is a photo with a pen in the photo to help you visualize the size of the AVK and the resin - only crumbs are needed for the evaluation.

In the photo with the golden resin you can see where the silver battery is inserted to make the heating element work, and in the photo above you can see the charger case with the batteries in it.

New technology used for quick field evaluations of raw aromatic materials - it's a great world!

BTW, the black omumbiri is, as you might expect, a bit darker in scent than the golden. I'll have to read more of what Sophia wrote me earlier about the resins before I proceed. Some of the resin is collected before it drops on the ground. Maybe the darker resin is older, or has some soil mixed in? I'll check further.

There's a funny bit about how the women are the traditional collectors, but when the men of the tribe realized the interest in the resin, and how the women were making money, they decided to collect it, too. Problem is, they are not as careful and discerning in their collection methods, and were turning in bags of resin with a lot of twigs, dirt, stones, etc., and so the women insisted that their resins be considered separately from the men's.

I will also check into something I read that the men wear a body perfume made from a different species (or subspecies?) of the same tree.

What a lot of fun and a true adventure, being involved in the first-ever independent, niche perfumer's study of a new aromatic! I feel blessed.



photo credit: Karen Nott

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Question of Freedom of Speech Put to Blogger(s)

Octavian of 1000 Fragrances blog received a warning from the attorneys of LVMH, the corporate giant that now owns Guerlain fragrances, that he must remove recent posts he wrote critical of their product. To quote from his blog: Without any personal message Guerlain legal service attacked me on blogger.com about what I have posted on Guerlain Idylle - Coty and it seems that I have to remove all, otherwise my acount will be deleted.

This tactic should be a warning to other bloggers. My stance is to support Octavian and to call for other bloggers to spread the word on this matter, so that perhaps we can communicate amongst ourselves on how to handle any threats like this in the future. I have no idea if blogger.com will indeed censure Octavian. I encourage you to subscribe to his blog to keep apprised of developments.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Now Smell This Hosts Giveaway and Announcement of Launch of Kaffir in Cologne strength


About a year and a half ago, Kevin of the Now Smell This blog reviewed my Kaffir perfume and stated he wished it was available in cologne strength for summer. Cost also figured in, and a hope for a bigger bottle. Well, I didn't make it last summer, but I have small 15ml spray cologne offerings of the zesty and leathery/woody Kaffir ready for this summer. (Yes, a perfume can open zesty and get all leathery and sexy and woody!)

I wrote Robin, the head honcho of NST and offered her the exclusive release of Kaffir and a bottle to be awarded to a US or Canadian winner of a random draw. There were so many quick responses, and so many disappointed late entrants, I promptly offered two more bottles. As soon as I get the winner's addresses, the bottles will be in the mail, resplendent in their unique recycled boxes - that will grow wildflowers if planted!

Its just a way to give back to the community, to thank Kevin for planting the idea of a cologne, and for Robin for being such a pioneer and great egg in the blogging community.

Kaffir is perfect for summer, and I hope everyone enjoys it - and the affordable price of $35 for the 15mls.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Reminder: Natural Perfumers Guild Supplier Allured Business Media Offers 30% off all books Through June 30, 2009

30% discount off any book published by Allured Books through June 30th!

Natural Perfumers Guild member Allured Books - 30% off books

Once again Allured
Books, a division of Allured Business Media, has come through with a great discount offer on books! Allured is one of the top publishing houses in the world for fragrance and cosmetics books.

If one of their gems is on your wish list, now is the time to take advantage of this offer and save! Just enter Anya30 as the coupon code when checking out to receive the 30% off the price of the book(s). If you have any questions on their books or ordering online, you can contact them at Books@allured.com, subject line- Anya30. Web site - www.allured.com/bookstore

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Distillation Part One - Gemini New Moon Distillation - The Noble Bay Laurel in a Heart Magic distillation unit


Bay Leaf hydrosol flowing into the beaker

I recently had to cut down - with much sorrow - a huge bay leaf tree/bush that I planted about 10 years ago. Many meals have benefited from the organic leaves of the Laurus nobilis I harvested from that tree. Planted at the SE corner of my patio, it had to be removed for patio expansion. I saved the roots, trunk, limbs and leaves, and they are all going to be used, nothing wasted. The roots, trunk and twigs will be used when I barbeque, as their aromatic beauty will flavor everything on the grill with a complex, floral, yet earthy and woody fragrance and taste.

Now, I reasoned, was a great time to start distilling. Then with amazing clarity, the Universe confirmed my feeling. Within one week, a distiller I had known for years on the internet but not corresponded with in a year or two contacted me about joining the Guild with his newly-founded business, a Yahoo Natural Perfumery (YNP) group member joined the Guild and informed me he's making absolutes and tinctures of some of the rarest, best quality ambergris in the world (and is a distillation expert), and chat on the YNP group caused me to contact a fellow who makes hand-blown glass distillation units and he sent me one. Wow!

My student Elise Pearlstine of Tambela Belly Perfumes is my partner in the distillation process. Ironically, she was to meet with Ambergris Guy in Salt Lake City last year but they missed each other. She's going back in two weeks, and they'll meet up. Small world.

Elise and I assist each other with interpreting the instructions on the distillation unit(s) we have worked with in the two sessions we've held so far. The first, a few weeks ago, was with a unit loaned by Chris Ziegler of A Little Olfactory. We got the best-smelling bay leaf hydrosol, true to scent, floral, earthy, woody and fitting Suzanne Catty's descrition of well-made bay leaf hydrosol in her book Hydrosols.


Like many of you, I use bay leaf often in cooking. I have never used the essential oil of it in perfumery, although I purchased some back in the 70's. I used that for cooking, too. Our first distillation was done in the back garden, under the huge oak trees, near the fragrant plants - a very calm and peaceful setting.

However, it was a big comical, since I had to run inside the house every two minutes to get stuff we needed:
scissors, a twistee, more ice, etc., etc. Once the distillation started, we were enthralled, and spent a lot of time fiddling with the heat source, checking the connections, wearing eye protection and generally geeking out. Alchemy occurred, and we were the anxious witnesses. We got about 250mls of hydrosol, maybe a tiny film of oil.

Yesterday, under the energizing Gemini New Moon, we had a much more fruitful and less comical alchemical session. Everything was there, the HeartMagic unit went together rather well. We marveled at the beauty of the hand-blown glass, recognizing Gary Stadler really, really put together a beautiful unit. He has developed a unique receiver, with hydrosol coming out one spout, and the essential oil capture in the middle of the receiver, waiting for the person distilling to release it into a bottle.

You can see the meniscus where the bay leaf essential oil is floating on top of the hydrosol.

As per Gary's instructions, the hydrosol started to flow about thirty minutes after we turned on the heat source. The fragrance was beautiful and we enjoyed tasting the hydrosol at various intervals to check for the change - which evidenced itself as a slightly less spicy taste, which is when we stopped the distillation.

Following Gary's instructions, I let the unit cool down, and got some more hydrosol released from the glassworks, a total of 350mls. About a half ml of oil was produced. I'll be posting a lot more soon, I just wanted to share this with y'all, and share how the distillation urge is hitting so many folks right now - hopefully, you, too!

"Distillation is the act of the
invisible being made visible"
. . . Jeanne Rose 2001
from Jeanne Rose's website

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Natural Perfumers Guild Member Allured Publishing - Great Discounts on books 30% off through June 30th

Once again Allured has come through with a great discount offer on books! Allured is one of the top publishing house in the world for fragrance and cosmetics books, and if one of their gems is on your wish list, you may wish to take advantage of this offer. Just enter Anya30 as the voucher code when checking out to receive the 30% off the price of the book(s).

Saturday, May 09, 2009

New Members - The Natural Perfumers Guild Will Celebrate Beginning Its Fourth Year on June 1st with a Chance to Win the Arctander CD worth $900


The Natural Perfumers Guild Will Celebrate Beginning Its Fourth Year on June 1st
with a Chance to Win the Steffen Arctander CD worth $900 - New Members Only



From the Slow Scent Newsletter May 1, 2009 sent to Subscribers

The Natural Perfumers Guild will celebrate its Fourth anniversary on June 1, 2009 and Guild President Anya McCoy in asssociation with Allured Publishing Media announces that a CD of the three-volume set that includes Aroma Chemicals Vol. 1, Aroma Chemicals Vol. 2 and Natural Origins is being awarded in a random drawing for new members who join the Guild this month.

This valuable CD retails for $900, and it might be yours if you join the NPG between May 1 and June 1, 2009. If your completed application and membership fee is received between those dates, your name will
be entered into the giveaway for the CD.

This is a great opportunity to be in the running to obtain one of the most coveted research tools in perfumery. The legacy of Steffan Arctander is that he produced one of the best reference books (or, in this case, CDs) in the history of perfumery.

Read about this opportunity here:

http://www.naturalperfumers.com/send050109.htm

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Celebration of the Perfumes of the Earth and the Art of Those Who Love Them



Aztec Gold Plumeria aka Fragipani

Natural perfumers have an innate love of nature, flowers and the beauty of this planet. I say that after years of observing the posts by them on a Yahoo group devoted to natural perfumery. Most like to get their hands "in the soil" and grow herbs and flowers so that they can enjoy the harvest as tasty food or as an ingredient in a perfume they create. I'm one of them. I've been a gardener for many, many years. I wrote a paper on organic gardening for a class back in 1972, and later wrote for Organic Gardening magazine. Passionate about herbs, fragrant plants, veggies and tree crops, I've grown plants in Pennsylvania, California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Florida - talk about spanning growing zones!

The photo of the white and gold plumeria above, the variety known as "Aztec Gold" was taken in 2003 in my garden. I've been tincturing the flowers for years, obtaining a beautifully golden fragrant extract that I use in my perfumes. I encourage you to click on the top photo to see it enlarged, when the exuberant nature of the flowers can be more completely appreciated. This year I'm enfleuraging the flowers for the first time, and with only three changes of flowers in the nonhydrogenated organic palm oil shortening, the fragrance I'm collecting is fantastic - much more peachy than the tinctures. The fresh flowers smell like ripe peaches, and the enfleurage fat does, too.

Vietnamese Gardenia

Another flower I'm enfleuraging is the showy and delightful Vietnamese Gardenia. Not at all like the gardenias we're very familiar with here in the States, it has a distinct ylang ylang note, albeit subdued, and a hint of what I can only describe as Beechnut gum! Floral and spicy, this knockout flower absolutely captivates me.

I'm not sure if I'm correct, but I may be the only person in the United States enfleuraging these flowers. That is part of the unique niche we natural perfumers find ourselves in. We're always seeking the next great sniff, and we try to extract it ourselves if it isn't on the market. Many report about the dried fruits, soil, mushrooms, rare flowers and sticky resins they're exploring via extraction processes.

The future will see many more artisanal extractions like this coming from natural perfumers. The regulators may try to clamp down and make us only buy from narrow-channel sources, but I know we'll just keep on our artistic and outlaw path. It's just what we do.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

White Sandalwood Oil + Full Moon in Libra = A Perfumer's Dream


I'm overwhelmed with the sultry, woody, spicy, balsamic, heavy, transcendent scent of the bottles of Santalum album, aka White Sandalwood essential oil that I've been pouring for the members of the Natural Perfumers Guild. Tonight there's a Full Moon in Libra, the sign of beauty, and sandalwood is in the Pantheon of glorious, gorgeous, sought-after rare and elusive beautiful raw aromatics for fine natural perfumery. My sign is Libra, so I feel the utterly exalting power of this historic, deep, balsamic oil. Being a rather sloppy "pourer" of raw materials, I managed to get about 2mls of this oil on either my hands or in the pouring tray, where it was easy to recover. So I just got to schmering it, to use a little Yiddish, in honor of Pesach, and I'm in heaven!

I also rubbed some on my shoulder, which was yanked out a bit today playing with the huge puppy I'm fostering, and the pain just melted away. Or maybe I'm just melting. I'm as tranquil as that moonlit river in the photo - serene, tranquil and reflecting(ive).

This is the second buy from Anya's Garden that I've put together for the Guild, sourcing extremely rare aromatics. Previously I received the only bit of the 2008 golden Boronia absolute that was parceled out to non-longterm customers. Now I've found a sustainable source of "old school" sandalwood untouched by the ecological, political or other negative issues found in Mysore, the historic home of the finest white sandalwood. I've been sourcing sandalwood oil, or at least buying directly from reputable retail sources, since 1974. This oil ranks up there with the best Mysore, and it just goes to prove that aromatic plant materials can be established far away from the original home base and manufactured beautifully by skilled people, giving rise to the hope that as some homelands disappear (for whatever reason) that others can be born elsewhere.

I may offer some for sale to the general public after the Guild members place their orders. I didn't have any extra Boronia, but I may have the sandalwood. I'm thinking of just buying more, I shouldn't pass up on this great aromatic - it's just so, so fine.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Anya's Garden Perfumes Kaffir Reviewed on I Smell Therefore I Am

I'm very touched that Kaffir Perfume, a Lime Leaf and Leather perfume from Anya's Garden, was reviewed on I Smell Therefore I Am on March 27, 2009 and received a rave. Abigail is a perfumista with a skeptical nose about natural perfume, and the diffusivity and longevity of Kaffir has won her over - horray! As she notes, so many think that when you say "lime" that it'll be like the citrus fruit, but no, kaffir lime leaf is an aldehyde of a different sniffa - a chemical tweak on the typical (-) citronellal, being a (+) citronellal.

I pushed the envelope with the opening blast of this unusual and fascinating citrus oil, and it's a great springtime scent because it embodies all the green sprigliness of the awakening of earth. Abigail then really "got" the leathery woody drydown, because after all that green hormonal surge and floral heart of sexiness, you need some good, unctuous long-lasting grounding ;-)

When Kevin of Now Smell This reviewed Kaffir last year, he said he thought it would be great as a cologne in a bigger bottle, and I'm working on this for a summer release. The EdT or Cologne strength will be a slightly tweaked formulation, with a lovely surprise. Stay tuned.

Now through April 4, 2009 - use the code kaffirlime at checkout and receive a 10% discount off any Anya's Garden purchase.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Anya's Garden Wins Top Florida Environmental Yard Award


Anya's Garden of Perfumes is Named
a "Golden Oak" yard

for environmentally-sound practices

I'm honored to announce that the perfume-centric garden that surrounds my home in Miami Shores received the highest award that the University of Florida's Friendly Yards and Neighborhoods program. I was the 17th person to go through the evaluation process back in 2003, the first in my village at that time. They recently revamped the program to reflect three levels of environmentally compliant gardens, and the Golden Oak award is the highest. A yard has to achieve at least 50 points, and I had 65 ticked off my checklist.

Barbara, the State of Florida rep who came to evaluate my hard walked around asking questions about my irrigation practices, fertilizer use, grouping of plants according to water usage and function, and many other subjects. The program is meant to encourage water conservation, discourage the use of invasive plants, protect the waters of Florida from fertilizer and pesticide runoff, encourage wildlife refuge and generally show that it is possible to have an attractive, ecologically-friendly yard.

I had the original sign in a pot containing a sweet kumquat tree in the front yard until today, when the new sign I'm holding will replace it.

What does my garden look like right now? Well, the little bit of "lawn" remaining in the front yard is brown, almost dry. I'm slowly replacing it with bushes and trees that are fragrant. We're not in a drought right now, but we've only received .25" of rain since January. Nothing is irrigated except new plants, so they can get established. The property line plantings on one side of the front yard were recently replaced with flowering, non-fragrant, non-edible plants because the neighbors on that side began to use a lawn care company who applies noxious chemicals. The fragrant plants there were moved to the interior of my property, where they'll be the backbone of my new planting arrivals.

The back yard is shaded by two huge heritage Live Oaks, and the ground is maintained is a sort of natural woodland state - if a woodland was surrounded by a living wall of different jasmines, a vanilla vine, cherries and other fragrant shrubs. It's a very calm, shady, serene garden, with little lizards, hummingbirds, honey bees, butterflies and other wildlife.

I can harvest some fragrant or edible materials from my garden almost every day. This time of year is not the most productive - that will come in the summer. The University rep loved the scent of the Aglaia odorata tree in bloom, the musky, aldehydic liftof the Thai Life leaf, the minty zing of the Himalayan savory bush. Some jasmine sambacs were in bloom today. It's not the blooming time of year for most plants, at least the non-stop blooming period. That'll start in a month or so, and continue through until next November or December.

A small portion of the garden is being readied for the summer veggie garden, and that area will receive irrigation when necessary. I'm already looking foward to the cherry tomatoes, okra, summer beans and squash and others that I'll tuck in when the seeds sprout.

I just wanted to share my award with y'all, and most of all share my philosophy that Anya's Garden is a true reflection of my passion to grown as many plants for my life and for my natural perfumery business. All this is done in a way that truly shows that you can tred lightly on the Earth and harvest its lovely bounty.