Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, May 15, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

Half way through May, and oh my, so much to do!  Still, I love to make time to answer your questions about perfumery.  I'll be here until 10 PM tonight, so ask away.


  1. Good afternoon Anya:

    My question is about how natural perfumes are perceived. I often see the word vintage, or not longlived, or oldfashioned. I saw a recent review of one of your perfumes and it was compared to a vintage perfume Vert Vert I think was the name. I find your perfumes very modern, at least to my nose, with the exception of Rivercali, which is oldfasioned romantic.

    Now I see a review of Mandy Aftel's and they're called musty and Paleolithic, murky and fungal. I have some of hers and they are very different from yours, and are kind of old-ladyish to me. I have JoAnne Basetts and they're pretty and interesting. I have others, too, but the Mandy Aftel review really scared me!

    I'm just confused about the perception of natural perfumes out there!


  2. Margaret, please forgive me for being so late to reply! It's a very busy workday, writing, starting a new facebook page, and since nobody else wrote in to ATP today, I forgot!

    Again, sorry, I'm usually not so spacey.

    First off, let me say that natural perfumes have come to be appreciated MUCH more, and garnered much more respect and customers since I first found the perfume blogs and forums on the Internet that bloomed in the Spring of 2005. At that time, all natural perfumes were disparaged as smelling like "hippie shops" and had a very poor reputation among perfumistas, such as the ones that blog and comment on blogs.

    At that time, most had only sampled the "natural perfumes" found in hippie stores, so what could they compare it to?!

    The Internet helped change all that, as more perfumers created websites and offered samples and got their samples out to the bloggers. I started in June 2005 for just that purpose. I had a number of perfumers from the NP yahoo group on board, and we were going to create an association much like the Guild.

    In the next few years, not only did the perfumers garner great reviews (for the most part!) from the bloggers, the quality of the perfumes increased dramatically. As head of the Guild, I received samples that were distributed to the Review Committee for evaluation. Yes, we did turn some applicants down, but we always helped them with comments and offers of ongoing help to increase their blending skills.

    I was quite honored my Kaffir was compared to Vent Vert, a classic Germaine Cellier perfume that I love. It was the galbanum and floral heart that drew the comparison.

    As far as the comments on Mandy's perfumes, I have not seen the review, but general consensus on the Internet is that her perfumes are beautiful and well-received. Perhaps her style was not to his liking?

    Back to your original question about how the natural perfumes are received. I think they're very well received, and some may have a retro or vintage feel about them, but there are millions who love say, vintage clothing, and so there's a built-in customer base ;-)

    Not to worry, Margaret, natural perfumes are gaining respect and love from customers more and more every day.

  3. My Question for the Perfumer.. Anya, I;ve been making beautiful essential oil perfumes for 20+. I make a " mother blend" and dilute in 180 Proof grain alcohol.
    (expensive as all get out) but my perfumes are still cludy and often still have to be shaken. What am I not doing or doing wrong? They still smell fabulous :) Kathleen O'Connell
    ( facebook)

  4. Kathleen, you need to use 190-proof alcohol. If you live in a state that sells it, you can get a quart of Everclear 190 for under $20. Find out if it's available, and if not, I have some sources that will ship, but the shipping fees are a bit high due to the hazmat charges.

  5. Several folks posted their questions on the new Facebook page I started today, and I pointed them over here. Kathleen made it, and I hope the others do before 10 PM.

  6. I've used well as pure grain alcohol from a chemical supply company...a HUGE tax was added onto it because of hazmat and alcohol taxes. 30.00 per pint. still cloudy.. again, still wonderful aroma but cloudy...lends itself better to being sold in opaque vessles. thanks

  7. Kathleen, something is wrong, but without knowing your specific blending process, I don't know what it is. I have never heard of someone following professional perfumery techniques getting an opaque (louched) perfume with 190 or higher alcohol.

    Sorry I can't help you further at this time.


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