Sunday, December 02, 2012

Ask the Perfumer Sunday Dec. 2, 2012

As we move into the month of December, often the most rushed, hectic month of the year, filled with holiday preparations and everything associated with that, sometimes something presents itself as a chance to slow down, think of earlier times, and rare, fragrant things.  I have had such a slow down, due in part to my own chosing to relax, but also caused by a new item I'll soon have in my Vintage Vault: the rare, legendary Abishag perfume from Israel.  I'll perhaps relate the Old Testament story of Abishag at a later date, but the most succinct description of her is that she was a beautiful girl chosen to lay in bed next to the elderly King David because he was always cold.  Here is one depiction of the story:

by Pedro Amerigo


Well, if you're lying around this cold December day, and want some perfumery questions answered, I'll be the virtual Abishag to warm your brain with shared experience and help.

One photo of the vintage Abishag perfume that is on its way to me:


8 comments:

  1. Wow, I have only heard people speaking of this perfume, never smelled it myself and I have been so curious to smell it since.
    Is that a full bottle you got?
    Who is the artist that created this perfume? and who is it sponsored by? I remember reading something about the museam of Israel sponsoring it... If I know, I can do some detective work here is Israel... just a curiousity really.
    Hemla

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  2. Hi there. I have subscribed to your site for more than a year now and learn so many great things! I am a novice and have just dabbled in perfuming over the past couple of years. I made a couple of custom solid perfumes for friends and now everyone wants one! Those were fairly easy, one wanted citrus, another patchouli. But now, a challenge that i don't know how to get started with. my brother wants a cologne that smells like the woods.....in Washington state! Ha! so i'm thinking oakmoss, and sandlewood maybe? Any ideas? i need it to smell like wet earth (vetiver?) and rain ( no idea) and trees but what trees? It can't be flowery, needs to be manly and i need it not to smell like i pine car freshener....help!
    thanks!

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  3. Hello Anya,
    I recently ordered Black current buds absolute, unsniffed. Wow! This thing is potent!The opening is quite something: cat's pee in a rhubarb patch to my nose.
    But it develops into a beautiful fruity/sweet smell that I adore. Now, I wonder how to work with this two/faced smell. I thought of burying the opening notes under tons of citruses, but I am not a citrus person so I'll probably hate it. If you have any tricks or suggestions they are welcome.
    Note: I made 5% and 1% dilutions in perfumer's alcohol.

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  4. Hi Hemla:

    It's a full "mini", never opened. I think it's about 4 or 5mls. It was made by IFF Holland. No perfumer is named. It was made as a limited edition for an Israeli museum. I'll post more as I learn more and have a chance to evaluate the perfume's notes.

    I also have a few Judith Muller perfumes from Israel. They've been discontinued a long time, and her perfumer was never named, either.

    Now, in a few years, between you and my other Israeli students, we'll have the names associated with the perfumers from your coutry! :-)

    xoxo
    Anya

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  5. Hi Kimr:

    Hi Kimr:

    Hi there. I have subscribed to your site for more than a year now and learn so many great things! I am a novice and have just dabbled in perfuming over the past couple of years. I made a couple of custom solid perfumes for friends and now everyone wants one! Those were fairly easy, one wanted citrus, another patchouli. But now, a challenge that i don't know how to get started with. my brother wants a cologne that smells like the woods.....in Washington state! Ha! so i'm thinking oakmoss, and sandlewood maybe? Any ideas? i need it to smell like wet earth (vetiver?) and rain ( no idea) and trees but what trees? It can't be flowery, needs to be manly and i need it not to smell like i pine car freshener....help!

    I'd be very careful with oakmoss. You should listen to my podcast on http://perfumeclasses.com about accessory notes, because oakmoss is one of the fiercest. Sandalwood doesn't grow in the PNW, so why don't-you stick with woods that do?

    Since you're new to perfumery, I'd advise you to keep it simple, maybe just three or four oils, and blend them in different ratios (this is called making accords) to see how they interact, keeping in mind they should 'age' for a month or more. Without getting into chemistry, know that all oils are complex chemicals, and they interact and morph over time. What smells good in December might be awful in January - or the opposite, it might be beautiful!

    Think about taking my course if you wish to become more professional at making perfumes, it's comprehensive and very thorough at teaching students a great foundation.

    HTH,
    Anya

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  6. Hi Isayah:

    You took the right step making low % dilutions of it. That's the best way to work with accessory notes. I think juniper berry, coriander and lavender might be top note possibilities, so try them.

    HTH,
    Anya

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  7. I love the reminder about what smells good in one month may not smell good months later. I made a perfume for my daughter's baby shower and gave a sample of it to each guest. I saved a bit of it of course, for her to use on a special day in her life. Like a prom or a wedding or something. It doesn't exactly stink now, but it's not a great as it was. Of course, I'm not a good perfumer. Hopefully, she'll always smell the love in it :)

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  8. Anya, The story of Abishag and the imagery are fascinating! I love the bottle and box design for the perfume.

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