Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Slow Food, Slow Celebration, Slow Travel (hint)

I've had a lot to celebrate lately, in both my professional life as a perfumer and President of the Natural Perfumers Guild, and my personal life. After 2.5 years of grueling work, I'm able to take some time off, party more, enjoy life and just have fun. One of these events was taking my 88 year-old mother to a favorite Slow Food restaurant of mine, Michael's Genuine Food and Drink in Miami's Design District. It's practically a neighborhood place for me, being just a short drive from my house. We had reservations for a little before noon, as I knew the place gets slammed with guests and I wanted to get her settled into her seat before the place filled. When we got to the Design District, Art Basel crowds filled the streets as the galleries were open and excitement was in the air. It was very festive and a lot of fun! Michael's is set back in a treed courtyard, with the choice of indoor or outdoor seating. We choose indoor, even though the weather was nice because the cool, dark interior of the "gallery" side of the restaurant was so serene and seductive.

Started off with some champagne, and then feasted on the delicious kitchen creations. The Slow Food concept - handmade, artisan food, preferably from the farm to the back door of the restaurant delivery, no fuss, just great fresh stuff - has a lot in common with the Slow Scent philosophy and slogan of the Guild. We s.l.o.w.l.y enjoyed our lunch, relaxing for two hours of pleasure and people watching.

The next day, the following appeared in the local paper, and just confirms that Slow Food, even in a glitzy town like Miami that is not an international foodie center, draws in the biggiest foodies when they're in town. From the Miami Herald:
Star chef Wolfgang Puck was seen having lunch with dessert chef and cookbook author Maida Heatter at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink on Tuesday afternoon.

Celebrated chef Alice Waters, was spotted having a solo dinner at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink Thursday night. Waters told general manager Charles Bell that everyone told her if she had one night in Miami, she had to eat there. Which is exactly what she did. Waters, who some say is the founder of California Cuisine, ordered the wood oven roasted giant prawns with garlic and lime, the beet and tomato salad, the Berkshire pork pizza with mission figs and strawberry-kiwi sorbet.

Expected at Michael's on Friday: Martha Stewart and party of 8.

Hey, Alice, that pizza was fabulous, wasn't it? ;-) Morsels of wood-oven roasted pork, mission figs, red onions, fontina cheese, thin crust, topped with baby arugula when it was removed from the oven. Ok, I'll admit I have a vicarious thrill thinking I ate the same dish as Alice Waters within a few hours of her. I'm very lucky - I can go back for more, and I will, soon!


PS: All I have to say about my Slow Travel hint -- all you'll get out of me right now is that the Universe has a way of rewarding me when I've been slammed, either by lies or theft. Why do people do the things they do? (shrug) Don't know, just have seen some stupid, destructive things in my day, and it reflects so poorly on their character. Anyway, within days of a tempest in a teapot by someone, somebody else dropped the opportunity for me - and the Guild - to take part in someting that may turn out to be absolutely, fabulously, incredibly, unbelievably glorious! I cannot say I saw this opportunity coming, but wow, I am so ready for it, and so will 19 of my best friends ;-) Ciao, baby, let the good times roll.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Just for Fun -- I met Clive Christian, creator of the World's Most Expensive Perfume

I posted this the other day on both Perfume of Life and Basenotes. I've never met another perfumer before, and wanted to see the glitz and glamor surrounding Mr. Christian and his luxe line. He is well-known for creating "the world's most expensive perfume." Quite a heady experience for a niche artisan perfumer like me, LOL. One thing I didn't realize until afterwards -- the Neiman Marcus store was not awash in strong perfume fumes, despite many spraying and testing. I suppose they have good air "scrubbers". I appreciated this, as my nose is very sensitive, and it could have been an unpleasant experience. I was told his appearance made the nightly news locally, as did Paris Hilton's presentation of her perfume Can Can the next day. I did somehow restrain myself from going to her event, but had fun relating my visit to NM, the Chanel boutique next door, etc. Please not what a sanguine "reporter" I am, not even getting the names of the perfumes down! I will keep my day job as a perfumer, and not aspire to chronicle perfume events, LOL!
All work and no play makes Anya a dull girl. After truly having
the nose to the grindstone, I made a vow to get out more
to fun stuff. Clive was signing bottles at the Neiman Marcus
at Bal Harbour (Miami). Very nice man, and I'm not sure of the
name of the perfume I sniffed that was refined and lovely, top note was pepper.
Maybe #1 for Her? Didn't do skin test, had my Kaffir on.

Overwhelmed by the hoopla, tons of people, etc., I was uncharacteristically quiet and only introduced myself as a civilian, said I was there for the POL peeps. His daughter Victoria piped up she was very aware of us and she was going to see Karen Lubin in NYC next week. I took some photos, most of which turned out lousy because of my new high-techie camera (that obviously doesn't have a stabilization mode), and I just enjoyed seeing a perfumer/designer living the high life. I liked all his perfumes, they were unique in their charm and stood apart from the "typical" stuff on shelves, for sure.

Wandered around a few perfume bottles from other labels, had stuff sprayed on strips, nothing excited me. Overheard two women (CC reps? NM SAs?) saying Lalique had been bought out by an English company. Chatted a bit with them speculating how the designs would change. (Less curvy, more linear was my guess.)

Back to CC. Dapper, his nose to the grindstone, I think he had been signing bottles for two hours when I got there. Great displays all over with his coffret, gorgeous bottles, and a mostly-natural juice. Wandered next door to Chanel, tried Les Esclusifs (spelling? I did pronounce it properly). Shocked at my first sniffs of Cuir de Russie -- sweet! Bois de Isles - boring. No. 18 ambrette. and more ambrette. so where to go from ambrette? Coramondel (sp?) wouldn't agree with my skin, I knew that. There was a "green" one that began with a C that was nice.

Well, such are my skills as a perfume reviewer. I'll just stick to making them, and besides, I would feel the fool to write a review of another perfumer's product. Painters don't write reviews of other painter's works, actors on other actors. If I hadn't liked and respected Clive's perfumes, I would merely have written nothing.

Wish I could have gotten a sample to take home, I brought my vials and blank labels like Robin on NST and others have declared is a good tactic, but couldn't bring myself to ask.

Oh, they served champagne and the atmosphere was very festive. I didn't have any because I was driving, but if he comes to your city, by all means, go, have a drink and a sniff. Maybe even buy!

And, oh, bummer, they didn't have the $250,000 Lalique bottle of his perfume there. BTW, I did see guards everywhere, guess for the smaller bottles with the diamonds in them.

I'm such a lousy shopper and reporter, but I've reported what I felt were the high points.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Canada's Glow Magazine features natural perfumery

The Winter 2007 issue of Glow, a beauty and fashion magazine published in Toronto, features an article "Two Scents" that yours truly is quoted in on the subject of natural perfumery. They give equal time to Thierry Wasser, perfumer with Firmenich, and a fragrance scientist both working on the synthhetics side of perfumery. The editor has written a rather balanced view of the two camps of natural perfumery, and I think it's a good read that will help the general public get a grasp on the major differences between our artisan art and their corporate product.

Click here to visit my site where you can view the PDF of the article.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Anya's Garden Natural Perfumes -- Launch of Kaffir and Temple perfumes-- for the Survivor - a special offer of free samples

November 16, 2007

Two new perfumes launched by Anya's Garden 11/07

Be the first to experience and luxuriate in the fragrance of two very different, new-to-the-market citruses, paired in unexpected ways for very different results.

Mirroring the new citruses, you'll find agarwood in the base, but two very different agarwoods - one light, golden and spicy, the other true Laotian and Vietnamese dark, deep, hypnotic Ouds. Read more on the perfumes page.


Fragrance Family: Citrus-Leather

Exotic, gourmand, flirty, fun, and radiating good vibes of sexy playfulness, Kaffir can transport the wearer to explore their own version of intrigue and romance -- then smoothly moves into a rich, leather drydown. For the worldy and artistic man or woman.


Fragrance Family: Citrus-Spice-Wood

Luscious, fresh and a wake-up delight, the orange juice essential oil grabs your attention, and the borneol and cinnamon center you, quickly moving you into a spicy Oud base that provides strength and focus. Temple is a reflection of you, empowered, treating your body as a temple.

Note: samples of Temple will not be sold, due to limited amount of the perfume produced. If the notes appeal to you, or if you feel a soothing perfume might help as a healing balm, then purchase it for that purpose. It is not a frivolous perfume, it is meant to reach deep inside and soothe.

For the Survivors: Special offer for Temple Perfume

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, surviving numerous Florida hurricanes, from Elena to Wilma. Katerina's eye passed over my house one day after it formed, knocking out power for eight days in hot, sweltering South Florida during August. Then that monster moved on to the Gulf States, wreaking havoc such has never been seen in this country. Two months later, Wilma cut a path of destruction, and we were without power for more than two weeks, and some homeowners still do not have their homes rebuilt or repaired..

The first 100 survivors of any disaster - hurricane, fire, tornado, flood - that write me by clicking on this page will receive a sample for free. Fifty percent of the profits from Temple will be donated to various charities that assist people and animals via their rescue efforts. The offer will end when all of the samples have have been claimed. Samples will be mailed out by December 1st.

Perfumes and samples are available on the Boutique page, where you will also find beautiful, luxurious raw natural essences such as Lavender Seville, Rose de Mai from Grasse and others from my private collection on sale.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Anya's Garden Announcement - Kaffir and Temple Perfumes to Launch November 1, 2007 and Anya's Choice Store Reopens

Kaffir, a unique and groundbreaking perfume from Anya's Garden, truly is from Anya's Garden - in Miami Shores, Florida, USA.

Kaffir Lime leaf, also called Thai Lime Leaf, is used in Asian cooking for the unusual, exciting, penetrating flavor it imparts. The petitgrain oil also imparts an aldehydic kick, and Kaffir the perfume honors and exalts that sensual experience. No other citrus comes close to the odor impact of kaffir, which I call the King of Citrus.

There is a story of delight, destruction and rebirth behind the kaffir tree of my home garden. Nine citrus trees were planted - and ripped out - of my garden. I planted them when I moved in, but the State of Florida, in a misguided attempt to stop the spread of a non-threatening citrus disease, cut down over 1,000,000 citrus trees, including my kaffir tree. However, my kaffir was the only one to resprout from the roots, and I was the beneficiary of the illegal harvest. Since then, the State of Florida has terminated the cutting down the the trees, and I have not replanted anymore, due to fear of another "ban".

My Kaffir perfume contains both the oil of the leaves and even more rare, the extract of the fruit, which is used in Ayurvedic beauty items. I extracted the fruit rind oil myself for this perfume.

Kaffir contains notes of many of the plants that grow in my garden -especially my rare jasmines. I grow eight different jasmines, from J. officinale and a related variety Flore Plena, through all the J. Samacs, including Grand Duke of Tuscany, Maid of Orleans, Belle of India, Belle of India longipetala, and "night blooming jasmine" and "orange jasmine". I have carefully harvested and extracted the unique and lovely scents of these jasmines which are not available to the trade, since they are so rare and hard to grow. Here, in Kaffir , they find a home. Vanilla, agarwood, galbanum and tarragon round out the sparkly perfume, which starts out fresh and aldehydic, and gently turns floral, then woody and settles into a rich, leathery dryout, a true surprise for a citrus perfume!

Temple is for the quiet, inward spirit that yearns to enter the daily hustle and bustle. The sweet and candied Orange Essence Oil - made by distilling Orange juice - plays with spicy cardamom to awaken the senses. Siam benzoin, ambrette seed tincture, aglaia flower, borneol crystals, rare and precious Chinese herbs and spices including cassia envelop and strengthen. The Oud base gently supports and connects the wearer to the deeper core that gives balance.

My online store, Anya's Choice, was closed for two months as I prepared the online website and finalized details for the class I am teaching - click here to read more about it. To celebrate the reopening of the store, you can get a 10% discount by typing in the voucher code "natural" (without the quotes) and hitting recalculate at checkout. This offer good until November 15, 2007. Click here to visit Anya's Choice Store, where you will find my perfumes, and some of the most beautiful raw materials for the hobbyist or beginner perfumer, including Rose de Mai from Grasse, Jasmine grandiflorum from Grasse, outrageously rare and exciting Pandanus EO, Hyacinth absolute, Atlas Cedarwood, Vanilla planifolia absolute and more.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day - spotlighting Slow Food and Cropwatch and how their efforts can help save our food and our fragrances

If it weren't for our sense of smell, would would not be able to discern the food we put in our mouths. Our sense of smell makes it possible for us to taste our food. Our tastebuds help us sense salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami. When purchasing tomatoes or melons at the store, we use our nose to detect which ones are the ripest with the probable best taste. No scent? No taste.

When agribusiness giants gobble up family farms, or development paves over yet another field of beans with concrete, we, the people, become more separated from the crops that smell and taste good. Every small scale farm that goes under puts another nail in the coffin of free enterprise providing fresh, tasty, nutritious food on our table or fragrant, beautiful ingredients for our natural perfumes. Taking your children out to a local farm to pick a pumpkin becomes more of an impossibility when urban sprawl means a 40-mile drive each way.

I call it the Cheez-Wiz factor. If people are raised on fast food and processed products - or synthetic perfumes - they have the least common denominator - like Cheez-Wiz - as their only reference point. Hard, pink, tasteless tomatoes? The veggie world's sin, a result of the Faustian pact between supplier chains and producers. In a generation there may not be parents left who know the bonding and sensory pleasure of bringing their kids to a U-pick farm because there's always that can of orange glop on the supermarket shelf. What a shame.

Organizations like Slow Food and Cropwatch are at the forefront of the effort to de-Cheez-Wiz the world. Their members "get it" - there is a need to return to the basics of the foodie and scent world -- re-educate our noses and palates as to what real food and real fragrance mean, and look for ways to preserve the livelihoods of the producers of those food and fragrance materials at the same time.

I recently joined Slow Food and am very excited by the chance to interact and cross-pollinate the ideas and ideals of the Natural Perfumers Guild with this organization. As an ironic, fun bit of karma, the day I was meeting with the local leader of slow food, Donna Reno, it was announced the restaurant we were lunching at was named one of Esquire Magazine's Top 20 restaurants in American. The restaurant is Michael's Genuine Food and Drink, close by my house in Miami's Design District. I asked Donna about other Slow Food restaurants in Miami, and was surprised when she said there aren't many. I wondered why - what is the criteria? She said that the restaurant must have a direct connection with the farmer -- up to and including having the produce delivered right to the back door of the restaurant.

What a sad testament to the vanishing farmland of South Florida - urban development is rapidly destroying the formerly-nearby farms, and the restaurateurs haven't connected to the remaining farmers in great numbers. The publicity and support that would result from such a connection could go a long way to helping save the local Redland farming district, and other nearby communities. I hope to become involved in establishing that connection, as my educational background is in agriculture and crop science, and I was very active in promoting the use of fresh herbs to local chefs from 1991 to 1998 or so. It's a link I dropped, and I'm going to reactivate it. The chefs used to buy my herb plants and natural perfumes, but I never thought of making the connection, or realizing the link to my undergraduate and graduate studies that focused on the historic overview of the misuse of our plains, valleys and agricultural lands.

Slow Food, Cropwatch, and Mandy Aftel have helped me see those links in a new light, and I want to encourage all the members of the Natural Perfumers Guild and anyone interested in great food, organic agriculture, natural aromatics and the preservation of a way of life that is quickly disappearing to get involved.

As a natural perfumer, my business - Anya's Garden - depends upon my access to natural aromatics. Unlike Slow Food, I do need transport systems to provide me with the distillates and extractions of aromatics from distant lands. Still, my philosophy of providing beautifully-made, artisan perfumes to my customers pervades every aspect of my waking hours. I supplement the air-transported natural aromatics by harvesting rare tropical flowers from my garden and extracting the scents myself. That way, I can offer Dracena fragrans and night-blooming jasmine as perfume bases -- there's no where else in the world you can obtain these.

My artisan touch extends to all parts of my business. The photo below was taken by me. The flower, a glorious scented Clereodendron, was picked from my garden moments before being arranged by me for the photo. I assembled the box made of recycled paper that is in the background. I hand-poured each bottle of perfume. The heady, luxurious natural perfume in each bottle is unique, took months of experimentation and tweaking, and will evolve slowly, sensually, layer by layer on your skin. That's Slow Scent and the artisan sensibility.

Tony Burfield of Cropwatch has waged a one-man war against the many issues involving the over-regulation of natural aromatics, the phasing-out of the small farm that produces aromatics, the break in the linkage to the indigenous distiller, the entire chain of production in natural aromatics that is being bought up lock, stock and barrel by the "big boys". The EU - European Union and IFRA - International Fragrance Association turn a blind eye to the need to maintain and nourish small farms and local culture and economies in their effort to homogenize and put their Big Brother seal on products ranging from bananas to rose oil.

Earlier this year, the Guild joined forces with Tony and Cropwatch, our tiny, new organization threw its 100 members' weight behind Tony's one-man operation and we had success! An online petition garnered over 900 signatures - and there is still time to add your name. The EU Cosmetics Commission agreed to a sit-down meeting with Tony, the first time ever (I believe) they have bowed to pressure like this. Bouyed along by support that is now growing in many sectors, Tony recently presented a rather blistering, long-overdue, comprehensive overview of the situation in the EU (in PDF version). It is also available in a Powerpoint form by clicking on the main Cropwatch page.

Slow Food was started about twenty years ago in Italy, and has spread worldwide to many countries, and now boasts 80,000 members. They have a palate education program, taking members out to orchards and farms to taste fresh, real food. The Guild's scent education program is similar, and our tools are simple - scent strips and a specific way to present the naturals - and the synths. If all you've ever smelled your entire life was the fragrance version of Cheez-Wiz, we'll give you a sniff of olfactory Cheez-Wiz - fake rose - and then a sniff of the real rose otto. Ah! Nose immediately educated, upgraded, delighted, desirous of the real, slow scent.

Reconnect with your senses. Eat a local apple. Support your local farmer. Sniff some real jasmine grandiflorum, support the efforts of Cropwatch in protecting your access to that glorious scent, and support your natural perfumer. Join your local chapter of Slow Food and slow down the urbanization and disconnect from your local farms. Sample, select, become a nose gourmet and a food gourmet who insists on artisan products, straight from the farmer or perfumer to your house.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Natural Aromatics and how they soothed some after 9/11: now in the book Precious Blood

It wasn't until months later, when I had a bit of a bad bout with the February mango pollen in Miami, that I realized I had damaged my liver a bit due to 9/11. After 9/11 traumatized the nation, it was noted some people turned to self-medication to deal with the terrorism. Some drank a lot, overate, or took drugs for depression. Some perhaps did all of the above. I turned to my beautiful aromatics, absolutes, essential oils, concretes and CO2 extracts, all from nature, all complex, heady, indulgent fragrances. They allowed me to escape into their fragrant magic, distract me, overwhelm me.

The year before, on my birthday, I had gone on a shopping spree, a gift to myself, of a lot of aromatics I was not familiar with, to fill in the gaps in my olfactory education. I had already been collecting and studying natural botanical essences since the early 1970's, but had let it lapse a bit in the late 1990's. In the early '90's, I had a very successful oil perfume line I sold in Miami, Anya's Tropical Essences. That led to private label work for hotels on South Beach, and numerous customers for custom (bespoke) perfumes. I guess I didn't feel challenged, for some reason, and there was no community of perfumers to really hook up with other than a chat group I had started on idma.com. There were only about 25 of us there, and there was no vision.

I really didn't know where to take the business to the next step. The impermanence of life, the horror of 9/11, kicked my complacent butt into gear. Night after night, even when vegging in front of the TV, I'd open one vial after another, do a "blind sniff" to train my nose to recognize all of the aromatics, the siam benzoin, the tagettes, rose centifolia from Morocco, vs. the rose centifolia from France, roman chamomile, german chamomile, tonka bean absolute, violet leaf absolute, davana, amyris, and dozens more. Once secure in my active role in recognizing them, I began the dilutions that allowed me to compare the aromatic families, then I began contrasting them to objectively note their synergy when blended. Very systematic, time-consuming, necessary.

Liver support herbs helped me recover from the February mango pollen onslaught, a previously minor problem when I annually got what sounded like a cold, but was really the sensitizing mango pollen irritating my respiratory system. This time, due to the overload of nightly aromatics work, I was sick for six weeks, including a brief bout of anosmia and loss of the sense of taste. Scary for a perfumer, to lose the sense of smell! Incredibly, although I only sporadically take liver support herbs now, and really watch my aromatics work to avoid overload, I have not even had the yearly pollen problem. Seems that was cleared up, and I'm very thankful for that!

What has all this to do with the subject of this blog? I shall tie all the threads together now, like a well-made perfume mist wafting up, the aromatics all singing together in unison.

In 2002, I started a Natural Perfumery group on Yahoo, expanding the resources that were limited on idma.com, and inviting a lot of aromatherapists and like-minded folk to join. Mandy Aftel had published Essence and Alchemy, and the book was stimulating a lot of people to take up natural perfumery. In 2004, a fellow named Jonathan Hayes joined the group, and posted occasionally. We corresponded behind the scenes, and I visited his website, and was impressed by his varied and well-documented accomplishments, from writing for major publications to expert photography, and his day job - forensic pathologist, a Senior Medical Examiner in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Manhattan, and a clinical assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine. (job description from his website)

About two years ago Jonathan informed me that he was writing a novel that would include a bit about how the protagonist - a forensic pathologist - found solace in natural perfumery after 9/11. I had forgotten about it until I had to call him in July for a rather sad request, to confirm the death of perfume blogger Theresa Duncan, as I was in the middle of a lot of confusion about her passing. I had posted on the Perfume of Life forum when I discovered that she had committed suicide in NYC. Nobody could confirm it, since the press had not released a story on it. After two days of being dunned for proof, and not knowing how to provide it, I remembered Jonathan and called him. He did a bit of digging, and confirmed that a person by that name had died in NYC on the specific date.

Our phone call opened up talk about his book again, and I am very pleased that a major publisher, Harper Collins is publishing it. Jonathan has allowed me to share his passage, albeit brief, but oh-so-evocative - on natural aromatics and how their natural perfume can, as he put it, allow someone to - "get out of his head, and back into his body."

Jonathan wrote to me last night: Natural perfumery is not a plot arc in the book, but it is one of the keys to understanding the character; it's also largely autobiographical, relating to my experience with NP after 9/11, when things were getting to me. As far as NP goes, the most important part is the scene that ends the first day of the story, where the hero (a burned-out forensic pathologist) tries to calm himself by working on a tincture of saffron.

Here's the passage, from Jonathan: the first victim has been discovered, brutally murdered. Jenner, the protagonist, has been forced out of retirement to help. He's spent the last twenty hours at the crime scene and dealing with the murder victim's friends and family. He's home now, and cannot sleep:

He was wired; he needed to come down, to feel himself again. He got up and went to his desk. He opened up a mahogany case and took out a double-sealed bottle of tincturing alcohol, a glass laboratory flask and several dark vials of floral and herbal extracts.

After the whole 9/11 thing, when he finally admitted to himself that he was coping poorly, Annie bullied him into seeing one of the government-funded therapists. Dr. Rother had said it might help him to get the collection of essential oils. Jenner, amused, had bought the set, only to be amazed at how wonderful he found the small library of scents. He later explained slightly sheepishly to Rother that the oils hadn’t helped him in an aromatherapy way, but had helped him get out of his head and back into his body.

Working with the oils was a purely sensual pastime, with no goal beyond experiencing the scents. Learning to spot the different aromas, experimenting with blending extracts, observing how the scent changed as the perfume met the air provided Jenner with an almost Zen immersion in a natural, real thing: a fleeting moment of pure sensation that couldn’t be touched by burning fires or collapsing buildings, by radiation or by weaponized bacteria.

At first, he’d struggled to tell ylang ylang from jasmine, but soon he could easily separate the sweetness of jasmine grandiflorum from the heady, erotic perfume of night-blooming jasmine sambac, and before long he was discriminating between Bulgarian and Turkish extracts of the same rose species. His favorites were the grasses – hay, mellilot, flouve – the thick, coumarin scents, sweet as vanilla, made him feel as if he were lying in a field at sunset in late summer.

He decided to work on saffron. He’d once extracted a saffron essential oil, but beyond the absurd cost, the scent of the oil had been fleeting. He found a 400-year-old tincture recipe in the online archives of a society of French food historians in Beaulieu, and spent the rest of the evening experimenting at his desk. He began by gently heating diluted alcohol, then dropping three thick pinches of brick red saffron threads into the warm glass flask.

He swirled the flask, savoring the warm, buttery scent of the stamens as they swelled and turned crimson, watching the alcohol’s almost imperceptible change from gin clear to the palest of canary yellows. He dipped a test strip, clipped it to a stand, smelled it, and then methodically sniffed it and made notes during the first hour of the dry-down. After one last sniff, he closed his notebook at 1AM and put sheets on the couch.

When he turned out the light, Julie’s cat, invisible all day, slipped out from under the club chair, jumped up onto the couch to lie against him. Jenner was already asleep.


I suggest that readers also read his short story on the day *before* 9/11:
(Note to the Guild members reading this: a few months ago I wrote about Mandy Aftel co-hosting a scent/foodie event at the Napa Valley Culinary Institute of America with White House pastry chef Bill Yosses. Yes, it's the same Bill Yosses that is Jonathan's friend mentioned in this article. Such a small foodie/scent world!)

I wish Jonathan every success with this book, and my mother, who is a huge fan of this genre of writing, says the dust jacket recommendations (also on the website) come from two of the best writers in that field, so it looks like Jonathan has great cred. If you're a natural perfumer, check out his book tour schedule an perhaps drop by to say hi.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Natural Perfumers Guild is Honored to Announce Author Celia Lyttelton is an Associate Member

Yes, this is the second time this week this image has appeared on this blog.

When I blogged a few days ago on the wonderful book The Scent Trail that I had discovered, little did I imagine that within a few days the author Celia Lyttelton would join the Guild as an Associate member. I'm not even finished the book yet -- only up to p. 185, deep into the world of saffron imagery she so beautifully conveys in her visit to India. We just left nutmeg in Sri Lanka, this is a whirlwind trip!

In a world that sometimes gifts you with synchronous fun moments, a friend who is on my Natural Perfumery group revealed to me that she is close friends with Celia, and in fact, they will be giving an talk together in late October. Well, quick emails were exchanged, and here we are, a gifted writer on natural aromatics is in the folds of the Guild.

If you're reading this blog, you're interested in natural perfumery -- go get the book. You'll love it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Scent Trail - a new book that is the dream journey for every natural perfumer

Imagine a book that is so attuned with your nose, your language, your desires, your obsession, that just an hour after opening it, reading random passages, you have to pick up the phone and call your perfumer friend 3000 miles away, in Ireland, near midnight her time, to rave about it and insist she gets on the 'net and order a copy for herself.

That is Celia Lyttelton's The Scent Trail. I saw the cover online, read a tiny bit, and just had to have it. If you are at all interested in natural aromatics, you will want it too, and begin to devour every word the minute you get it, as I did.

Lyttelton was raised in Tuscany, and followed her mother, a famous archaeologist, on treks around the world. She, like all of us, has strong scent memories from childhood, some unique, as her grandmother's peppery-rose perfume, made for her in Egypt, and the formula brought to Paris so she could have it replicated. Bespoke before many of us knew bespoke (which I like to call couture or custom perfume.)

She writes of an incident in the 1980's where she and her mother were deep into Yemen looking to visit the frankincense and myrrh areas, and where guerrillas forced them to to leave, taking their jeep, having to embark on a long trek until some Bedouins rescued them.

A writer by trade, Lyttelton's ability to draw pictures with a minimum of words, where each word counts, and is a treasure, is to be lauded. In Chapter One she leaps right in to having a bespoke perfume created - co-created, actually, since she is such an active and learned participant. Then, she relates all of her travels to Grasse, Morocco, Isparta, Tuscany, Sri Lanka, India, Yemen and Socotra. Never hear of Socotra before? After this book, you will want to travel there.

Now excuse me, I'm taking a rare night off from work to dive deeply into the naturally-scented world of The Scent Trail.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Isabelle Aurel's Chocolat Parfum discovered, devoured

Robin of Now Smell This discovers the beauty of natural aromatics in food:
Now Smell This

Great review of Isabelle's yummies. Read my confession as to what I did with her samples, good for a laugh! Isabelle is one of the loveliest people, and a valued Professional Perfumer in the Guild. I'm so glad to see this recognition for her!

Here is an upcoming event that celebrates Isabelle's birthday and the launch of a new perfume:
Found the information on the Soiree:
Desire in Sunlight Couture Perfumes graciously invites you to a PERFUME CHOCOLAT SOIREE In celebration of Isabelle's Birthday to launch our newest perfume - 'La Fete' a rich honey floral blend Saturday 13 October 20074-7 pm location: 2510 42nd Avenue East, #447D, Seattle 98112 RSVP 425.471.4770 breathe in beauty, Isabelle Aurel

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Focusing In On Our Art of Natural Perfumery

Sometimes the busy bee that is me has a bit of a blurry see. Ok, bad poetry. Sharper image now, though.

In May of 2005 I discovered that there were folks out there blogging on perfume. I also found perfume forums. As a respite from some rather nasty folks who had plans to take over my natural perfumery group and used some rather Machiavellian means, I drifted around the internet looking for some related, non-stressful talk on perfume. (BTW, that "group" founded on my stolen list is well, listless and feeble, and mine has more than doubled in size to 1300 members -- the good guys do win in the end.)

I found about a dozen blogs, and made friends, or at the very least, acquaintance, with the bloggers. I chatted about mainstream perfumes, aka those made with synths, the stuff you find in all the department stores, boutiques and drugstores, always referring to my beloved natural perfumes also. Many of the ladies (and two men) bloggers weren't very familiar with natural perfumes. They confused them with aromatherapy perfumes, and that is understandable. We use many of the same materials, but our intent and techniques are quite different. So, if the bloggers heard of a perfume made only with natural aromatics, they tended to associate it with the perfumes on the shelves of health food stores, which are wholly 100% aromatherapy perfumes. Or synth-laden aromatherapy perfumes. Not natural perfumes at all.

Used to be, I linked to these blogs from both Natural Perfumery and then, this blog. No more.

As of yesterday, no more links to any sites that report on, chat about, or promote mainstream perfumes. Let those who choose to spritz and dab with the latest niche or artisan or Big House perfume have their fun. I just want to focus on our art, promote our art, and keep the image and intent undiluted. An analogy would be - well, if this were a vegetarian blog, why in the heck would I link to blogs with recipes for meat? Sure, it's all cuisine, but there are subdivisions within any discipline, any art, and ours is all natural.

In the next year, besides teaching my class in perfumery, creating perfumes, managing the Natural Perfumers Guild, I'll be working on educating the public on natural aromatics. There is so much confusion out there, so much fiddling with the truth from the big companies who produce household products, and yes, even the "natural perfumes" sold at Whole Foods that are full of synths.

There will also be an emphasis on raising and holding firm on standards for natural perfumes. I've had the painful task of turning down applicants for perfumer status in the Guild this past year. So many submit lovely aromatherapy perfumes with no structure, no sign of sophisticated technique, not comprehension of why, when their perfume "smells nice" it can't be labeled a natural perfume. Several of them are what we call "weekend warriors". They've taken a short course often taught by an aromatherapist who says they'll "certify" them, and they are churning out blends at the rate of one a month. Or quicker.

Natural perfumes, any true perfumes, take months, if not years, to create. Aromatherapy blends can be put together in a day, or less. Definitely not the same thing.

I was invited by Grant Osborne of Basenotes, a perfume forum I originally found in 1998 or so, to write an occasional column on naturals. That will be my one remaining link with the world of mainstream perfumes, and I wills strive to contribute informative, lively articles on natural perfumery and all it means.

As a final note, I do want to add: The Guild does not have the monopoly on natural perfume. We only have a duty to ourselves to set goals and standards for our members. That is the task at hand. And I'm focused.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Cropwatch Newsletter - call to arms, call for volunteers and STOP THE FDA GLOBALIZATION ACT OF 2008


The latest Cropwatch newsletter isn't on their site yet. You can view it on the Natural Perfumers Guild site by clicking on the link. It's long, 50+pages, packed with information.

Before you read the latest message from Cropwatch below, I cannot stress enough the importance of what Tony Burfield and his Cropwatch organization are doing FOR US ALL - those of us who love natural aromatics, natural and botanical perfumery, and want to retain our rights.

If you enjoy aromatherapy, naturally scented toiletries, natural body care and natural perfumes, you'll want to pay attention to this issue very closely as your access to natural aromatics is in danger.

This message went out to the 1200+ members of the Yahoo group I host, and it's relevant here: Let's put the power and beauty of our numbers to work. Please volunteer to help him if you have any expertise in the areas he's asking for assistance with, or perhaps you're just a great researcher and can track down the information despite not having these issues in your area of expertise.

His latest message:

Dear All,

As we approach critical mass, we have some choices to make.

Perfumery used to be about history, art & culture. Now it seems to be mainly about the (often nonsensical) regulation of ingredients driven by a form of imposed & unchallengeable legislatory 'Toxicological Imperialism'.

This itself is held in place by fear-culture amongst perfume buyers, who are terrified of media exposure/litigation over supposedly harmful fragrance ingredients. Interest in herbal medicine used to include your right to self-dosing, using traditional active plant extracts. A program of their removal from shop-shelves is the result of back-door lobbying, via pharmaceutical concerns.

Our age-old usage of aromatic plants & essential oils for their useful properties - as biocides, antiseptics etc. etc., is similarly curtailed by this flawed system of Hyperbureaucratic Technocracy within Europe, which is being carbon-copied by authorities in Canada, the US and other countries.

How much longer do we have to put up with this sorry state of affairs where natural ingredient use is often so affected by negligible &* *unquantified risk, before everyone sees that in reality this is an "Emperors New Clothes" situation? The revolution for common sense in aromatic regulation starts here. We are getting ever bigger! Join us!

Please read Cropwatch's August 2007 Newsletter.
contact Tony at:

P.S. Volunteers are needed to help examine the following areas...

1. Furanocoumarins. Academics & industrialists are helping us construct a massive data-base, which we will make publicly available, so we can all see the issues for ourselves. But we need more help.

2. Methyl eugenol carcinogenicity - challenges to the present accepted & outdated view.

3. Dimethyl & diethyl phthalates - ignored data & any associated industry conspiracy issues (thanks to the Perfume Foundation for this lead).

4. Sensitisers - ignored contrary evidence to the '26 Sensitisers' issue & new policy initiatives.

5. Issues of transparency & secrecy, freedom of information & the withholding of safety data from the public domain within professional trade & research organisations. This area includes how regulatory bodies have processed scientific evidence, & examining records of how scientific decisions were made.

We have limited evidence from a number of academics that an 'expert' EU advisory committee has not properly dealt with (or perhaps have not properly understood) submitted evidence in particular cases; these need public exposure, & we need to establish a more robust code of practice.

Thank you,

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Perfume Classes Blog Launched - Online and Worldwide

Please visit the Perfume Classes blog for the latest update on the Basic Natural Perfumery Class I will be teaching this Fall. The class will be online and offer for the first time, online interaction with a teacher, learning modules, and a study forum.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pandanus, wild and crazy, "screwy" fun scent

The male flower of the Pandanus odoritissimus can weigh two pounds or more.

The Pandanus is also known as the Screw Pine due to the swirl of the leaves. It is one of the most useful plants in the tropics. Practically every part of the Screw Pine is used for all type of different purposes: clothing, bowls, housebuilding, food, medicine and fragrance.

But it's the wild and crazy flower I'm interested in as a natural perfumer. High, pierceing, radish-y, rosy, green, dirt, glorious, sun-drenched, yet cool as can be - that's the hydrodistilled oil of the Pandanus odoritissimus. Also can be described as hyachinth-honey, fresh floral, addictive. Dilute it down to 1% to have some of the hyacinth notes really release - wow. Male flower only, please - like the male peacock with his technicolor plumage, only the male flower of this tree has the scent. Yes, the lady trees may have the bombastic, grenade-looking fruit, but it's the essence of the male flower that is craved. And coveted. And oh-so-rare to obtain.

I've obtained some of the rare essential hydrodistilled oil of this flower, and although I'm selling off tiny amounts of it to natural perfumers so that they may experience this and keep it in the scent library in their brains and their studios, I will hold on to it for my Fairchild perfume.

It's the fierce, fleeting topnote of Fairchild, grabbing your nose for the wild rollercoaster of a Tropical dreamscape perfume. Other than Fairchild, I cherish my "kewda" or "kewra" or "keora" water I get at the Indian grocery to flavor my dishes. The hydrosol left over after this process is softer and rounder both to the nose and the tastebuds.

I'll probably experiment making "floral water" with a gram of the oil in a liter or more of distilled water, so I can use it as an after-bath splash. It's a scent that has its own top, middle and bottom note, complex and intriguing as it slides down the scale towards drydown.

Arctander says once you have experienced the true pandanus essence, you will never forget it, and that is so true. I'm on the hunt for some absolute. I absolutely adore keora/kewda/pandanus, as do millions of folks in Northern India, where it is a culinary staple. Arctander also says fixation can be a bit of a problem, and I have to laugh and take that two ways -- "fixing" the scent so it lasts longer, or, in my case, my fixation with the scent.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cropwatch gets conference with European Union Cosmetics Commission


For those of you who have been following this blog since January, when we first reported on Tony Burfield's watchdog organization Cropwatch challenging the IFRA 40th Amendment, and the European Union regulation of natural aromatics, I am happy to report there is progress. On July 3rd, Tony, along with representatives of the Perfume Foundation, sat down with the representatives of the EU Cosmetics Commission in the first-ever of its type of confab. We take this as a sign of a crack in the ongoing bulldozing effect of IFRA-fueled nonsensical and nonscientific regulation of natural aromatics in natural perfumery. You can read or download a PDF of Tony's report on the meeting here: Cropwatch sits down with the European Union (EU) Cosmetics Commission.
Back to lounging on the beach for me - yeah!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Just a Taste of Anya's Choice

Just a taste of what I've been up to: I started selling exotic, and some not-so-exotic, but absolutely knock-out beautiful,exceptional raw materials on my website here.
The hyacinth absolute is already sold out, but more is expected soon. Lush narcissus poeticus absolute is also sold out, both due in the end of July. Rose de Mai absolute is on the way, a non-CITES agarwood is for sale - it smells like a very posh leather good boutique, all freshly-sawn wood and buttery, fragrant leather. Vanilla absolute to die for! Heck, I'm even parting with some of my double-infused St. John's Wort oil, an incredible ruby red jewel of an oil for what ails ya. My perfumes have had a slight price reduction after the big June sale, and it's permanent.

All of the pure essential oils are suitable for aromatherapy use. I also term these rare essential oils because of the exceptional aroma quality of them. Absolutely knockout in strength and clarity of scent.

My most obvious reason for my absence here from weighty and even frivolous posts: preparing 18 hours a day for the Basic Natural Perfumery Course I'll be teaching online in September or October. I am planning for the perfumery class to be informative, exciting, global and the basis of a great foundation for someone to continue studies in natural perfumery.More about that here.

The hammock over the ocean is a dream. Perhaps in October!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Taking Time Off to Do a Lot

This summer is busier than the past two summers, which were some of the busiest of my life. Lots of obligations in the perfume world, personal goals, and just too much on my plate! So, I've decided to really have down time every chance I can grab it, and the picture above sums up where you should look for me. I'll be there, lolling around, or nearby, having fun, instead of working on this blog.

Happy Summer, everyone!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Happy Birthday to the Natural Perfumers Guild!

June 1, 2007: The Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild is now the Natural Perfumers Guild. We're celebrating the one year anniversary of the reopening of the Guild with a new name and a new logo, seen above. In the past year 88 wonderful people joined the Guild, supportive and enthusiastic about the art of natural perfumery, helping spread the word, networking amongst themselves and just being supportive. We're also adopting the phrase "Slow Scent" as our slogan. Mandy Aftel, the Founder of the Guild, coined the term for her new book, and is graciously sharing it with us.

Here's a great example of how we're all connecting and helping each other and spreading the news about what we do, and who we are: with hours of reading the June Guild newsletter, Blunda Los Angeles store owner Persephenie called Andrea Budje of Aromahead because she wanted her to come to LA from Florida to give a class at her store - all because of a small feature I put in the newsletter without Andrea's knowledge ;-) Gosh, it's great hearing about stuff like this!

So, it's our birthday, and please raise a glass of champagne, nosh some cake, and spritz some of your favorite natural perfume in the air and on yourself. Y'all, the members of the Guild, have had a big role in making the Guild a success. Thanks again!

Full Moon Jasmine

The very-talented Helen of ZenSoaps created this image from a photo of the Grasse variety of Jasmine grandiflorum I have growing in my garden. I find it alluring and mysterious, sensual and spiritual, much like the flower itself.

Today is the Full Moon in Sagittarius. White fragrant flowers bloom wildly and profusely during a full moon, and here in Florida, our major flushes of blooms are from April - June, with intermittant blooms throughout the year. I have been harvesting Jasmines - grandi (sparse, it may bloom more in July, for some reason), sambacs - Belle of India, Maid of Orleans, Grand Duke of Tuscany and several lesser-known varieties, like long-petaled Belle of India. Also into the alcohol goes the auriculatum and azoricum, and night-blooming Jasmine, Cestrum nocturnum, and Orange Jasmine, Murraya paniculata.

Quite heavenly tinctures they are, too. More like the fresh flower on the vine than the concretes and absolutes we buy from suppliers. I use them to supplement and enhance the jasmine quality in my perfume. Check out Helg's latest series on jasmines, quite informative and lovely information. She's Perfume Shrine in the links to the right.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Anya's Garden Sale - Thank You + Anniversary

It is my pleasure to announce the first-ever sale on the perfumes of Anya's Garden. The sale is in celebration of three happy events: the six-month anniversary of the launch of Anya's Garden, and the wonderful success of the perfumes, which are lovingly reviewed on forums such as Perfume of Life, MakeUpAlley and others, and the appreciative notes from customers, who write to say how the perfumes create a mood, bring back a memory of a warm summery place, or as in the case of Fairchild, take them to an intoxicating salty, flowery shore in the tropics.

This is what a perfumer aims for, at least I do. Not just to create a pretty or exotic fragrance, but to create one that evokes a soulful response, or in the case of Pan, as it has been reported, a real pheromonal response from men. Pan is a hit with the ladies who do not mind a slightly masculine scent, and among gay men, where it is a cult favorite.

The ladies say the men flock around them, or give them appreciative stares in public, and well, - the men say the same! LOL. The laws of attraction do apply with Pan, that randy, fun-loving sexy man among goats ;-)

Another reason for cake, champagne and beautiful natural perfumes dabbed on: The one-year anniversary of the reopening of the Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild, which now lists 85 perfumers, suppliers, associates and enthusiasts among its members.

AND - yet another reason to celebrate -- the upcoming five-year anniversary of the booming, chatty, fun and educational natural perfumery group I host on Yahoo -- we're now 1200+ strong, all nurturing hobbies and careers as natural perfumers in a like-minded community.

This sale is the first in a series of events that are going to take place over the next few months, all intertwined: a new logo and name for the Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild (dropping the Artisan, as it's a bit too unwieldy); new websites for the Guild and for NaturalPerfumery.com; I'm now consulting via telephone and Skype with perfumers; I'll be releasing two new perfumes this summer; and, I'll be offering the first-ever perfumery classes over the internet starting in September 2007. Although geared for natural perfumers, anyone interested in blending basics can sign up. It's all very exciting, and a very creative and productive time. Whew! ;-)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ban on Citrus in Perfumes?


Cropwatch's latest newsletter reports on the latest madness from bureaucracy run amok regarding perfume and fragrances. http://www.artisannaturalperfumers.org/news.htm You can download the pdf, all 18 pages of the strange, sad story.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

First Press Coverage for Anya's Garden Perfumes

I got a call two months ago from an associate editor at Palm Beach Cottages and Gardens Magazine, published by Conde Nast. She said they wanted to put a bit in their "What's New" section for the March issue. The magazine came out on Friday, and I got my copy in the mail today. Pretty good coverage for a perfume line that was only officially launched in December. Click here and follow the link to see my homemade photo positioned above a $730,000 Mont Blanc pen!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Focusing on the Network to Protect Our Rights to Use Natural Products


Time for a break from blogging again. Time to network more with the people around the globe who are aghast at the bad science, bad attitude and outright bias that International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and also the European Union (EU) are exhibiting towards natural perfume materials.

Just when natural products are enjoying a 20% annual rise in sales, and traditional products only 3-4% rise, they want to severely limit our access too these gorgeous, lovely natural aromatics. Yes, perhaps some essential oils or absolutes, if used in an excessive amount *may* cause a rash in in some people; wine causes allergies, too, but we don't see the EU limiting it, or banning it.

My time has been eaten up by the learning curve necessary to work on this. On Sunday I had to take a few hours to cobble together a printout for an esteemed ethnobotanist and natural perfumer because he is without a computer, and I couldn't just send him links to websites. I'm glad I took that time to work on getting almost 30 pages of information together for him, because there were two great outcomes: he notified very influential people, and the work I did gave birth to what I'm loosely calling the Primer on the IFRA and EU issues and the gathering rebellion against their ability to represent us, the users of natural materials. It will be revised soon, so check back at the Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild page where it is downloadable as a PDF.

I have many projects that have been neglected due to this call to arms in the naturals industry, and cutting out blogging is the best way to free up time and energy. The 1200+ members of my natural perfumery yahoo group will be kept up to date on a more regular basis. See you in a naturally-fragrant future, where, hopefully, the devious powers in the IFRA and EU circle will be kicked back on their Machiaeveillian butts and sanity, logic and good science will reign without the threat of their Walmart-like tactics to put the little guy out of business so they can move in and take over the town (20% increase in annual sales). It's all comes down to money and power, and manipulating the press.

We're going to respond with ethical, positive actions, like networking via transcontinental phone hookups to brainstorm; finding key industry movers and shakers at big events like this weekend's Natural Products Expo in California, where 2,600 vendors and 43,000 attendees are expected. The revolution against Totalitarian government control of our access to essential oils, absolutes and CO2 extracts of plants is starting, and I hope the halls of Brussels hear the opening salvo of the cannon of dissent being aimed their way, and that it thunders and echos with a sound that keeps them awake at night. Their reign of terror over small business, in the guise of overweening "Big Brother" protectionism is about to be shaken to its core.

The network is spreading, the lights are being flicked on worldwide as to illuminate the machinations of IFRA and the EU, and it will light every corner of their corrupt empires.

Friday, March 02, 2007

It's the synthetics, stupid. (to quote an American political slogan"

Tony Burfield's recent work challenging IFRA and the EU has forced
them to show their hand, and here is the plain, awful truth, which Tony said all along was their agenda:

They're insisting that synths are good, and naturals are bad and expensive. Baloney (well, ok, some naturals are expensive, let the market find it's own level.)

Funny they cite Calone: it was the first perfume ingredient that ever caused a respiratory reaction from me. For my entire life, despite dousing myself in perfumes that yes, contained some synths, when Calone was introduced, it, and the other harsh synths that followed, caused both me and a lot of the general public to rebel against heavy, harsh perfumes. I had no idea what, at that time, had changed perfume, I just knew everyone was complaining.

Before that, I remember people would complain someone was wearing "too much" perfume, but after the age of harsh synths came in, governments and workplaces started banning perfumes. It's not the naturals, it's the harsh synths, and yet IFRA is promoting them. Too much oakmoss, used by an imprudent perfumer, can cause a rash and sensitization: too much calone and other synths can cause severe respiratory distress, watering eyes, etc.

Additionally, many synths are just plain flat and boring, linear and stiff. Naturals evolve and waft gently, and bring a sense of the real world, not chemistry lab sterile hallways, to the wearer.

This HAS to be a wake up call for all of us.
I spoke with someone in the Cosmetics industry yesterday who recently attended a workshop on California's Prop 65 that limits perfume ingredients. The packed room of 150 industry insiders had NO idea that IFRA/EU and Global Harmonization are coming our way. They are scared silly and just starting to muster responses to it all. I'll be networking more and more over the next few months to build a coalition to address a fair and sensible way to counteract this bureaucracy that aims to put naturals out of the market.

Warning labels should suffice - in a properly-regulated, non-Big-Brother word they would, as they currently do here in the states. Think you may be allergic to perfume? Don't use it. Don't let bullies take your favorite perfumes away from you, or cripple the future of creative artists who wish to blend the beautiful naturals.

Ban the stuff that makes eyes water in elevators, or severely limit their percentages in perfume. It's all such Machevellian nonsense to go after naturals.

Just when naturals are gaining in popularity,
the very growers and distillers, suppliers and manufacturers of these materials can be shut down or have their business severely curtailed. Very sobering, scary stuff.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tony Burfield's Letter to IFRA regarding the petition and issues surrounding the 40th Amendment


1st March 2007

Dear Sirs,

Please find attached the petition posted up at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ifra40/http://www.cropwatch.org/40thpetition.htm.

You will note that there are approx. 740 signatories to date, including perfumers, natural perfumers, MD's of aroma ingredient companies, aroma technicians, academicians, soap makers, staff from cosmetic & natural products companies as well as natural products commodity end-users from countries as diverse as Russia, Iceland & USA. There are a number of anonymous signatories, and to avoid any unfair accusations of ballot-rigging or signature duplication, we are quite willing to submit the owner's version of this petition (which reveals fuller identity details), to an independent 3rd party (who will need to agree to absolute confidentiality), if the need should arise. I think you if you read the comments section of the petition - scroll through http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ifra40/signatures.html - you will be taken aback by the depth of feeling many have about over-regulation in cosmetics and interference with respect of freedom to use natural products generally.

Cropwatch believes IFRA has lost its way in recent times, and has effectively become over-influenced by the views of aroma megacorporations and career toxicologists, to the detriment of the perfumery art. We believe that IFRA's precautionary-principled interpretation of health & safety, does not find widespread public support, is sometimes based on selective interpretation of the available scientific evidence, & has knowledge gaps & shortcomings, some of which may due to limitations of available funds. Further, the window-dressing provided in the Jan 2007 IFRA Newsletter, designed to 'soften-up' industry over the 40th Amendments QRA scheme, does not fool us. The fact is that perfumery has become a somewhat tawdry money game, where the principle players have nothing to do with the art.

We believe that it is a very unhealthy situation: that IFRA/RIFM, being such influential bodies, are not independently financed. We believe that their findings & policies should be completely opened up for public discussion, and the existing exclusive & secretive 'Brussels regulatory club' reorganised in the interests & transparency & democracy. Further and most importantly, RIFM needs to be overhauled so that its capabilities can cover a proper risk/benefit analysis for all cosmetic ingredients - rather than delivering a mere risk analysis, as at present. Additionally RIFM/IFRA as powerfully influential bodies, have a social responsibility to those people they disadvantage and put out of work with their safety policies. Where natural ingredients are restricted or prohibited, they need to work with producers & manufacturers to find ways of reducing adverse reactions, which can be applied across the board to all natural ingredient producers - including the economically disadvantaged ones.

Finally, as is indicated by of the petition comments, IFRA needs to show 'joined-up-thinking' with other regulatory bodies as far as ingredient legislation is concerned. It's no good that FAO other EU Commission Depts, or Nation State Government Departments providing funds to farmers & producers to grow aromatic crops, if IFRA or the SCCP are subsequently going to recommend their restriction or banning in cosmetic commodities. It just makes for more unnecessary regulatory incoherence and social hardship.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Burfield
for & on behalf of Cropwatch -
the Independent Watchdog for Natural Ingredients.
proposing the Boycott of the 40th IFRA Amendment, for reasons set out at

Sunday, February 18, 2007

First European Natural Perfumery Conference

Another of the short, fun, or informative posts I've been making for the past few days...here's some great news.
Several of the European natural perfumers are taking action and proposing a NP conference in the next year to year and a half in Europe. It's very exciting to see the energy and interest and I just wanted to post a short note about it to put the word out there into the Universe. It seems they'll probably meet informally to plan the event, to get to know each other and work out details, and then finalize the conference details. More announcements to follow. We're discussing this in my Yahoo group,linked in the right column, if anyone cares to chime in and join in.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Boy, do I need a respite from all this political stuff

I need to relax.
Next week I'm going to post on frivolous, fun, fragrant stuff. The IFRA/EU Global Harmonization is coming, it'll change the way, or the ability, to continue business for many artisan perfumers. I'll work on it behind the scenes, but yowza, it's really taken a chunk of my personal and business life working on all these issues. I did have a great, fun Valentine's Day, great restaurant, South Beach cruising, and a preview of the huge boat show in town this weekend, and I realized that was the first day I've taken off in weeks! This Libra needs to catch up on her lovin' and loungin' ;-)

Tuberose, jasmine, neroli, petitgrain, beeswax, ambergris, pandanus, jamrosa, ambrette, etc., etc....gotta get back to the basics.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

UPDATE Feb. 15, 2007 Cropwatch v. IFRA 40th Amendment Poll Reopened -- no, actually, it's been closed unceremoniously

POLL CLOSED AGAIN. No explanation, no links left. So, the following post is moot, but the situation is interesting.

Perfumer and Flavorist magazine has decided to extend the poll by reopening it for votes. The new deadline is March 5th. You can read the editor's letter about this at: http://www.perfumerflavorist.com/news/5761601.html
At first I thought the original poll was going to be tossed out for the new one, but the editor assured me today that the results are being carried over. You can't vote this time if you voted previously, which is not spelled out on the website, so if you have already voted, and care about the issue, circulate this information to other interested folks. You have to go to the main page to vote.

Anyway the new results go, it looks good for Tony and Cropwatch http://cropwatch.org

David (Cropwatch) is really nipping at Goliath's (IFRA/EU) heel, and them not accepting the results of this unscientific (Allured's words) casual poll because it went bad for them, shows a bit of their tactics. So be it.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Press Release and FAQ issued on Boycott of IFRA's 40th Amendment


Please note that there is a detailed FAQ on this issue, linked at the end of the press release.
-Boycott Called to Halt Adoption of International Fragrance Association’s (IFRA) 40th Amendment by UK-based Watchdog Organization Cropwatch Gains Momentum with Online Poll and Petition. Online poll by Perfumer and Flavorist newsletter P&F now shows a landslide for Cropwatch with 85.1% of the vote.

-USA- based Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild joins in effort to Demand Opening the Process Up for Public Input and Review of the Process before thousands of small perfumery and toiletry businesses are adversely affected by restrictive, unfair compliance standards.


On February 7, 2007, fragrance and flavor trade magazine Perfumer & Flavorist released the results of an online poll showing 85.1% of readers in favor of boycotting proposed fragrance industry guidelines that will heavily limit the use of natural essential oils in perfumes and cosmetics.
Compliance with these guidelines (the IFRA 40th Amendment) requires that listed essential oils and naturally occurring constituents be kept to certain minimal levels in consumer products. At the core of the Amendment are safety issues in regard to skin reactions. The ANPG and Cropwatch fully support sensible safety guidelines to protect the consumer, but do not believe IFRA has proved that many of the essential oils affected present the supposed risk, nor have they allowed input from the impacted concerns, especially small businesses.

Although IFRA guidelines are only mandatory for their members, they have become the industry norm globally. Consequently, the livelihood of many small businesses is being threatened by an organization that does not represent them. Adhering to the complex measures not only requires sophisticated computer software, which most small natural products businesses do not possess, it also unfairly targets natural ingredients. Without a level playing field, these small businesses cannot be expected to compete. Approximately 200 essential oils will be controlled by IFRA if their 40th amendment is ratified.
Previous IFRA guidelines have been responsible for the reformulation of many classic perfumes, essentially destroying works of art that existed in liquid form. It is asserted that perhaps a warning label would have sufficed in allowing the original perfume, scent intact, to remain on shelves. Just as demand for natural toiletries and fragrances is growing worldwide, the 40th Amendment could do damage from the level of growers, distillers, up to suppliers and manufacturers. The end result may be the destruction of businesses and the absence of genuine naturally scented shampoos, creams, lotions, perfumes and soaps from store shelves.
To illustrate how the existing and proposed regulations from IFRA do not make sense, ANPG President Anya McCoy recently blogged on Peanuts vs. Perfume. Peanuts can kill susceptible people, yet their sales are unrestricted: Some perfumes may cause a rash, yet the International Fragrance Association’s (IFRA) 40th Amendment wants to severely limit the public’s access to them. Consumers are allowed to make informed decisions about peanut products, yet with IFRA and EU (see the related FAQ) guidelines and regulations in place, consumers will no longer have the freedom to make informed decisions about which scented products they wish to use. Access to aromatherapy essential oils may also be limited.

The ANPG believes the amendment may be unreasonable because the measures are based on questionable scientific premises, and they are decided behind closed doors without any possibility of public discussion or debate. Since the call for a boycott was proposed two weeks ago by little-guy Cropwatch, 549 people have signed an online petition, backing the challenge to the Goliath IFRA. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ifra40/signatures.html

Therefore, the ANPG joins Cropwatch in asking for a moratorium on the IFRA 40th amendment, until these issues have been fully addressed. We ask that a review of the scientific methodologies that were used in the original determinations of skin sensitization be examined, that the compliance requirements be reviewed, and that warning labels on products be considered in place of prohibition or restriction. Guild President, perfumer Anya McCoy will be working with others in the industry to challenge the IFRA stance and open the amendment adoption process to the public.

For more information, you may download a detailed FAQ from: http://naturalperfumers.com/cropwatch_ifra.htm

Anya McCoy, President
Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild
P.O. Box 245
Miami Shores, FL 33153
Website: http://naturalperfumers.com
email: http://naturalperfumers.com/contact.php
KEYWORDS: International Fragrance Association, IFRA, 40th Amendment, boycott, Cropwatch, Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild, perfume, fragrance, natural, essential oils, toiletries, consumer, Anya McCoy
SOURCE: Artisan Natural Perfumers Guild