Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, March 20, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

In the Spring, do your thoughts turn to lighter perfumes? Ask the Perfumer is open for questions today, and with a gentle reminder: please do not post follow-up questions to me privately during the week.  This is the forum for all questions.

20 comments:

  1. Hi Anya,

    Do you recommend bottles with orifice reducers or screw on dropper caps for diluted samples (in alcohol) for creating mods?

    On another note, I have been having some difficulty finding mini (2.5ml and under)glass atomizers for packaging samples. I have, however, found some mini plastic ones. What are your thoughts on packaging samples of perfume in plastic?

    Thank you so much for dedicating your Sundays to answering questions -it is VERY much appreciated!!!

    best,

    Poppy

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  2. Hi Poppy:

    Thanks for posting on Sunday ;-)

    I mean the screw-on dropper cats, *not* orifice reducers. Tip: Find a supplier you like, and always buy the same size dropper, for replicability.

    Glass is best for samples, never use plastic. I saw some good sources recently, but I don't have the suppliers URLs at hand. Let me browse my bookmarks and post them later today.

    Glad you appreciate my Sunday efforts, Poppy. They're an extension of what I've been doing in the private Yahoo group for 8 years. I figured it was time to reach out to the Internet at large.

    Anya

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  3. Hello Anya,

    I'm recently new to perfume and it's creative processes. I've been half experimenting in my own time with oils. I use massage oil as the carrier and hear a lot about Eristoff being a relatively good alcohol to use when ethanol/DRF is unattainable. In Ireland they don't sell Eristoff, so can you explain what is meant by a strong vodka. Am I looking for the proof or it's strength?!

    Thank you for taking the time to read and answer this for me :)

    Liam

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  4. Hi Liam:

    Don't use vodka, unless you can get the Polish grain vodka Spyritus that is 192 proof. Minimum proof you need is 190 proof. You need undenatured alcohol, if possible. I know some countries, Ireland included, have very stiff laws about high-proof alcohol. Some herbalists and pharmacists have access to it, and you may be able to obtain some from them.

    "Of course, the Irish have been distilling uisce beatha (pronounced ‘Ish-kah Bah-hah’, Gaelic for ‘water of life’) or what we today call, Poitín, for all the ages (from yahoo.com)." I've heard it called poteen also. Illegal, though.

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  5. Hi Anya,

    Poitín! Of course - I never thought of that. So basically the stronger the proof the better, with a minimum of 190 proof.

    And that is as safe to use is it? I imagine that strong alcohol like that would tarnish the oils in some way?

    Liam

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  6. Hi Anya,

    In enfleurage, what is the best way to place the flowers in the fat? Should you go for the most surface area of the flower touching the fat, or is the sealing of the flower in the container or plates of glass enough to ensure good saturation of the oils into the fat?

    I am starting jasmine in non-hydrogenated palm oil and just want to do as best as I can with it!

    Thanks!
    Michael

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  7. Hi Liam:

    The high-proof is necessary for several reasons, and it won't "tarnish" or otherwise diminish the aromatics.

    1. It's needed to obtain a clear, not cloudy perfume. You may still need to filter the perfume after it's aged, but it won't be "milky", which is a big problem.

    2. Some resins, absolutes, concretes and otherwise sticky, thick aromatics need the high-proof alcohol to dissolve them.

    HTH,
    Anya

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  8. Hi Michael:

    Congratulatins on joining the artisan enfleurage team. Yes, lots of surface contact is best. You can search this blog, using the search button on the main page, for enfleurage, and you should find photos. When I lift the huge gardenia flowers, I have a little butter knife and I scrape any fat clinging to the petals and put it back into the enfleurage pan.

    HTH,
    Anya

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  9. Hi Anya,

    Yes that helps a lot. Thank you. I suppose by filtering you mean something like coffee filter paper?

    Some day I'll have more money to spend on this too! Once a month I can just about afford one more little thing to add to my equipment or materials.

    Thank you so much for the advice, honestly, it's nice to see someone in the industry foster someone else's passion instead of stand on it.

    Liam

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  10. Hi Liam:

    If you can, find a glass funnel, or one of another inert material, like stainless steel. You can use coffee filter paper for now, but laboratory filer paper is best. If you are not a member of the Yahoo natural perfumery group, please join and you can find lots more info there, and ask questions of the other members at any time. http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/NaturalPerfumery/

    I do appreciate your kind words about me. I have devoted the last eight years of my life to hosting the NP group, mentoring others and promoting NP. I'm glad to help ;-)

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  11. Asking the Perfumer!
    In searching for information on how different people market etc. I
    found someone who sell a balm of shea butter,beeswax,Vit.E as a conditioning base to extend her natural perfumes. I am not sure if
    her perfume is solid/oil or alcohol
    based. What do you think? In some
    ways it makes sense.

    Happy Spring,
    Denise

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  12. Hi Anya,
    Thank you for this forum. I wanted to know if you can recommend a substitute for sea buckthorn berry that has that same smooth, subtle, quality but that won't color the formulation so intensely? And I also wanted to know your best recommendation for measuring viscous materials like costus?

    Thanks again!
    ~Anu

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  13. Hi Denise:

    Her perfume is definitely a solid. There is an old wives tale that if you put oil, or vaseline on your wrist before you apply perfume, it'll extend the life of the perfume. Nonsense.

    The best way to create a long-lasting perfume is to compose it with harmonious middle and base notes. You may add up to 5% glycerine to your alcohol before mixing the alcohol and compound, because that can help a bit.

    HTH

    Anya

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  14. Hi Anu:

    Nice to see you here, feel free to drop by any time with a question.

    Sea Buckthorn Berry is used mostly for its therapeutic properties, not scent so much. There is no substitute. We run into this a lot in natural perfumery and natural body care - the intensity of colors. Can you find something that stains more than boronia or saffron?! ;-)

    When working with all materials, not just thick, viscous stuff like costus you do best with a scale, measuring the material, and carving tools for extraction.

    I recommend wax carving tools to my students, because they make removing the thick stuff from the original jars easy (well, easier). You can find some here http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=wax+carving+tools&_sacat=See-All-Categories

    A scale and these tools are absolutely necessary for working with natural aromatics, and I recommend you get them.

    Oh, and a moment please, for a little campaign I'm trying to promote: ask your suppliers to PLEASE start to provide thick concretes, absolutes and essential oils in tiny, wide jars. Please. They're still stuck in aromatherapy mode, most of them, and what is up with putting those substances into narrow bottles? Oh, and narrow bottles with a dropolator inserted? Can you hear me laughing?

    If you need more help with scales, etc., don't hesitate to write again.

    HTH,
    Anya

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  15. Thank you Anya! This is such a generous service. I will definitely speak with suppliers about putting these thicker essences into wide mouth, glass jars. Seems like a no-brainer. Just recently I had been thinking about transferring the essences to jars myself.

    I did try boronia for this formulation and to my surprise it was more dominate that I wanted it to be, but at least it was the right color. Price point was quite different too...

    I do have a scale but I've been quite perplexing for me. I have a Escali and I just need to sit with it and figure it out... I will check out the link that you posted.

    Thanks again!
    ~Anu

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  16. Hi Anu:

    I'm a bit confused: is it a perfume or skin care treatment you're making with the sea buckthorn berry or boronia? Did you know that a tiny bit of sea buckthorn berry on a toothbrush is fabulous for your gums? I just found this out recently, and it makes sense, given the nutrient properties.

    About the scale: maybe you can join the NP group and ask for tips. I posted the link earlier, and Liam joined! Also, I can help you on Sundays. Post a link to the model of the scale and any issues you're having on the learning curve.

    Happy Spring!
    Anya

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  17. "I mean the screw-on dropper cats,"

    Poppy, of course I meant caps. I get mine here: http://www.trueessence.com/servlet/StoreFront They have good customer service and you can call them with questions.

    HTH
    Anya

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  18. Anya,

    The sea buckthorn and boronia are for a perfume formulation. Is there a hard and fast rule that states that one should not use sea buckthorn for perfumery? And if so what is the argument against it?

    I have been so offered some coaching by a friend on the scale. If that doesn't work out I'll follow your advice about posting the model number for tips.

    I do plan on joining the NP this week.

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  19. Hi Anu:

    Sea buckthorn berry is not an essential oil, or an absolute, it is a fixed oil - unless you have found a source for and EO or abs of it. By fixed, it is mean that it is not a volatile oil, and does not have the same properties as a volatile oil (EO or abs). Think hemp seed oil, or coconut oil - something that is pressed from a seed or nut or berry, not distilled, or extracted via a solvent.

    I remember a few years ago, suppliers, eager to sell to the perfumery community, started touting raspberry seed oil. Yes, it had a slight scent, but was a fixed oil.

    Fixed oils don't perform well when mixed with alcohol, either. They don't disperse as volatile oils do.

    I recently came across a goji berry "absolute". I am thinking it's an expressed fixed oil. Nice scent, too.

    Now, a fixed oil will work well in a solid perfume, so that's a consideration, if that's a direction you're willing to go in.

    Let me know of your decision and progress.

    Scales are fun to work with! Wishing you well on that learning curve ;-)

    Nite,
    Anya

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  20. Anu, it's late and I'm off to bed, but it just occurred to me that perhaps you've gotten a CO2 of it? They're making CO2s of everything nowadays! ;-)

    Come back next week and we'll dig deeper into this, one oil or another! LOL.

    Anya

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