Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, May 29, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

I wish some folks would ask me about natural isolates.  What I have to say, with my limited, but growing knowledge, might surprise you.  I'll be here, on and off, throughout the day.

21 comments:

  1. This is something I'm very interested in learning about, and no very little about! One thing is how do you know they are natural isolates? Is it just research, but it is so confusing cause of all the chemical names! The second thing is can you recommend a place to buy samples? I see Mandy Aftel has some, but I haven't really found anywhere else.

    Thanks!

    Emily

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  2. Wet Sunday morning here, so I will
    here at my computer. Please tell me about natural isolates. I know very little.
    Denise

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  3. A Happy Sunday to you Anya!

    So, natural isolates. They are still kind of taboo in my head, I have a hard time with them. I seem to feel naughty when I pull them out, like it is a step towards synthetic perfumes. I know we have some similar substances in things like Ylang Ylang 1, 2, 3, etc. Is there any words of wisdom you can offer that might make one more comfortable with them?

    Also, how do you treat them as far as percentages and dilutions? Is a 10% dilution very high for a natural isolate, or low, or does it vary with odor intensity as with EO's, Absolutes, Co2's, etc.?

    Thanks so much!
    Michael

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  4. Hi Anya,

    if you know, will you tell us something about natural isolates? :) :) :)
    Do you use them? Do you know something surprising about them? :)

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  5. I'm still doing my module 1 and 2 testing of essential oils but I am curious about the isolates. Mandy Aftel seems to be partial to some.

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  6. Hi denise:

    Well, they're explained in your textbook ;-)
    Admittedly, that's just an introduction. Have you read that Module yet? Maybe you'll have a specific question then. There is no "short" version, as it would take many pages to explain natural isolates.

    PS Can't wait for the blogging event for the Guild on Wednesday. Have your tech guy ready! Of course ask any questions in the Guild Yahoo group ahead of time and we'll help.

    Anya

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  7. Hi Mr. "Mike's Rice Device":

    I feel that the isolates that are made without chemical interference (menthol, etc., are ok, if they use the natural ones) are OK. No gene-spliced GMO bacteria, just natural bacteria. Fractional distillation - fine! Like Denise, I'll send you to your textbook for a good foundation on what they are and how they are made - the natural ones!

    Your questions about dilutions is too broad: there are different dilutions for different isolates, and also different storage requirements, and very important - watch for chemical reactions with other aromatics in the blend. What does a ketone do to an aldehyde-rich blend, if anything?

    They're very much a new product in the hands of natural perfumers, that's why I'm writing a book with three others. I was going to offer a course last year, but I realize that it was premature.

    Someone I turned on to isolates four years ago started using them with no instruction, and is now selling them. I feel that's irresponsible. I could have been selling them six years ago, when I first started to study them, but the more I learn, the more I know I don't know!

    So now you're getting to see why I selected this topic today, and used the word "ignorant". That's not the derogatory ignorant, just the descriptive, meaning lacking in knowledge.

    Off the soapbox ;-)

    Anya, loving the rice device discovery!

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  8. if you know, will you tell us something about natural isolates? :) :) :)
    Do you use them? Do you know something surprising about them? :)

    Hi Bellatrix:

    Nice to see you, haven't seen you here for a while.

    Natural isolates are gorgeous additions to the natural perfumer's palette. From an alchemist: if those who use synthetic aromachemicals learn how to use NIs, they'll stop using the synths.

    I have used them since 2007, and my two perfumes, MoonDance and StarFlower, won awards.

    Something surprising about them: if not stored correctly, dosed correctly, and that means knowing the interactions between them and natural aromatics, you can have a calamity. It might be six months or a year down the line, but your perfume made with them can go terribly wonky. Or, the stuff you purchased and stored incorrectly goes bad.

    HTH,
    Anya

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  9. Hi Anya,

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful responses.

    I am very appreciative of the topic and information today, it saves me from jumping in to an area I see I am not ready for yet. And saves me from sinking money into isolates that I don't know how to store!

    Are there any broad guidelines for storage you could share, like families of isolates, or are they very individual to each isolate?

    I know I for one will be eagerly awaiting the release of your natural isolates book/course.

    Thanks!
    Michael aka Mr. Mike's Rice Device :-)

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  10. Hi Anya,
    I have 11 natural isolates. I was unaware of any special storage needs. Please tell me more.

    Also, I have experienced the wonkyness first hand. I made light floral including a bit of methyl elthyl alcohol. It was instantly well received and I had a few requests for it. A few weeks later to my horror it smelled like suntan lotion. I admit to being afraid to work with NIs. Any info at this point would be helpful. Thanks!

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  11. Hi Anya, I have been using Weleda skin products for years and they contain natural isolates. I noticed a while ago that Mandy Aftel is selling them ( pricey ) on her website but only gives little info about them aside from the use of top, middle and base notes. Perfumer's Apprentice has them too as you must know for less money..had a long interesting chat with Linda? I think her name was, regarding chemicals versus natural.. she is so full of information. Part of my home study program has included Carles, so there is a lot of good stuff on that site.
    Anyway, looking forward to reading more about isolates. ( natural of course)
    Best,
    Stefanie Kihm

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  12. Hi Anya,
    I have 11 natural isolates. I was unaware of any special storage needs. Please tell me more.

    Also, I have experienced the wonkyness first hand. I made light floral including a bit of methyl elthyl alcohol. It was instantly well received and I had a few requests for it. A few weeks later to my horror it smelled like suntan lotion. I admit to being afraid to work with NIs. Any info at this point would be helpful. Thanks!

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  13. Hi Mike:

    you wrote: Are there any broad guidelines for storage you could share, like families of isolates, or are they very individual to each isolate?

    I know I for one will be eagerly awaiting the release of your natural isolates book/course.
    --------------------------------

    When you start to look at isolates as natural chemical, e.g., ketones, alcohols, aldehydes, etc., that will be the key to storage and use. I can't give any quick guidelines here because I admit I'm just part way through my studies. At least I'm studying them! LOL.

    About the book: I'm the one sitting on a revision right now, holding the others up. I hope to get my other writing project off my plate in a day or two, and then do my part and send it off to the others. I have some dynamo people on my writing team, and I can't wait until they fill in a lot of the blanks.

    Anya

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  14. Hi Lisa:

    Please know I'm not ducking answering you, but I would have to know all of your isolates, where you bought them (checking the naturalness), and then write you the details. That's a consult on my part. I do recommend you get back to the supplier and ask. The MUST tell you, but many just won't. Either they don't have the time or knowledge. That's why I know the book is going to be so valuable.

    Sigh. People are out there selling them, with no info for the customers. It's really something that as the head of a trade association I shudder about. The Natural Perfumers Guild is all about education and protection of the industry. A lot of perfumes turning to suntan oil-smelling messes is bad for us all :-(

    Please wait until our book is out. I hope you didn't invest too much.


    Anya

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  15. Hi Stefanie:

    I saw you posted in the NP Yahoo group today about selling on the web. You should join the Guild because we do chat about business matters more in depth there, and you'll find professionals there.

    About your question:

    I have been using Weleda skin products for years and they contain natural isolates.
    --------------------------------

    Please realize Weleda has chemists on staff that know how to incorporate NIs into product. Even the pH can affect NIs, so the tweak everything.
    ---------------------------------
    I noticed a while ago that Mandy Aftel is selling them ( pricey ) on her website but only gives little info about them aside from the use of top, middle and base notes. Perfumer's Apprentice has them too as you must know for less money.

    ---------------------------------------

    You need to get back to the suppliers for details. I say this about all aromatics that you have questions about. I get several a week from my customers.

    I had a long interesting chat with Linda? I think her name was, regarding chemicals versus natural.. she is so full of information.
    ----------------------------

    Linda is quite available for questions, she runs a retail business and gets on the phone to her customers. Be sure to stress natural with her, she sells a lot of synths.
    --------------------------------

    Part of my home study program has included Carles, so there is a lot of good stuff on that site.
    --------------------------

    Carles doesn't really go into isolates.

    HTH

    Anya

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  16. Anya I know Carles doesn't have anything about isolates it was just a note about the site. I am not interested in purchasing them, only some day learning more about them..just wanted to say that I have seen them in products I use ( weleda is lovely stuff ) and on websites not really knowing what they are. So much is misconstrued in emails. It is sometimes very hard to communicate...I need to be more specific with you I suppose. Anyway just wanted to clarify.
    Have a lovely evening,
    Stefanie

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  17. Emily, I don't know how, but blogger.com didn't forward your question, and those or two others, until now, much later in the day.

    I'm glad I wrote about the "good and the bad of isolates" for this Sunday.

    What's good? They have the ability to transform a perfume.

    What's bad? If you don't know what you're doing, and know not only the chemical names, but what them mean chemically, you're going to make a lot of mistakes. More than just beginning blending with complete aromatics.

    I don't recommend a place to buy samples, sorry. There are no Guild members selling them, and I only recommend Guild sellers, because I know what they'll have in stock.

    Besides, a real education is needed before using them. I have two chemists and a PhD working with me on the book, so that should show you the seriousness I put into this.

    Don't forget to vote for naming the Guild muse! ;-)

    Anya

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  18. Cristina, you are one of the posters held up by blogger. Excuse my late reply.

    You will read about isolates in Module 3 of my textbook. Don't rush. Hopefully, by the time you're done my basic course, we'll have the isolates book out ;-)

    Anya

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  19. Hi Anya,

    Sorry - I know its definitely not Sunday! Are you going to publish your book when its done? Sounds exciting...I do love chemistry!

    E

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  20. I am a soapmaker and saw your comment on Twitter and it is very good timing. I recently went to the HSMG annual conference and Lebermuth had a vendor table there displaying scent blends like Lemon Creme that contained Esential Oils plus "natural" isolates and siad the blends were all natural. The scents were great but being that I only use essential oils in my soaps I really don't want to slide down the slippery slope to synthetic fragrances. So what would be your comments on these products and Lebermuth's blends ? Thanks for your help.
    Marilyn Schendel
    www.ritualwaters.com

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  21. I'm still rather torn about isolates...I blogged about them a while back after experiementing with them for some time...and honestly, it's taking us to where modern chemical perfumery is with many of them. They behave so differently from the complex compounds that essential oils and absolutes are....they interact chemicaly with your orther ingredients, and their intensity in many cases is so overwhelming that I am just not comfortable useing them (I have one or two I never even got out of their wrappings because their scent overpowered the workshop with the bottles closed! Mind you so did the civet, grin!)
    In minute amounts they give us effects that are amazing....but then so do all the other created scent chemicals. Being nature derived does not make them the same as simple extracts. They also have very different safety issues....
    In herbalim, as an example, feverfew is used to treat fevers. The chemical extracted from it went on to become what we now know as "aspirin". So you could say that aspirin is "natural"...however it's effects are vastly different as the whole plant of feverfew contains many other ingredients that work together....and aspirin is an "isolated" chemical.

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