Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Happy Naturally Perfumed New Year!

I'm trying to take a few days off from the perfume business, but you know how it is. Artisans are workaholics and devoted to the art, so I'm still fiddling with mods, packaging up the boronia for the Guild members, fielding questions, etc. It's been a great year, but what I wouldn't give for some truly carefree days. My mother is doing incredibly well for 89, friends are, for the most part, hale and hearty, family is cruising along pretty well, and the cats are being their same old catty silly selves.

I will now have three perfumes released early next year, well, at least by spring, I hope. Also, the Prima Aroma line will launch. Stay tuned for updates, and some more specials for the Guild members. Take care everyone, and remember to reflect and use your wisdom in moving forward. Most of all, take care of yourself.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Organic White Rose hydrosol from Anya's Garden Perfumes - limited supply

Shhhh --- a quick, limited offer from Anya's Garden -
a glorious organic white rose hydrosol!

This sale starts December 25th, 2008

Notice: Anya's Garden of Perfumes regular store is closed for a lovely holiday until
Monday January 5, 2009

But, due to popular demand, the Organic Bulgarian White Rose Hydrosol will be sold during this time - get it while you can! Supplies are limited and it is expected to sell out quickly. Click here to purchase.

Rosa damascena var. Alba is a descendant of the ancient apothecary rose, Rosa gallica. Used for centuries for skin care, it is lovely just sprayed on the face and body after a shower, or sniffed to be enjoyed anytime to refresh and lighten your spirit. It blends beautifuly into lotions and creams during the "water phase". Mix with some clay for a facial mask, and spritz some hydrosol on after you remove the mask because it's a wonderful toner for your skin, balancing the sebum production.

I love to spray it on my face and pillows before bedtime because it is so soothing and relaxing. I also put a teaspoon in some water for a delicate rose-scented drink. You may add it to coffee or tea, also. Cooking with rosewater is common in the Middle East, and delicious sweets incorporate this natural hydrosol. I just mix some in vanilla cake icing for the lovely flavor it imparts, or sprinkle some over cut orange or melon slices. Yum!

In perfumery, it can be used in place of water when you are creating Eaux de parfums, Eaux de toilettes or colognes. It's a thrifty way to add some rose scent to the fragrance. Some who wish to avoid alcohol use it as a "water perfume" either by itself, or in a blend with neroli, frankincense or other hydrosols. It can be sprayed on the skin or clothing. It will last longer on clothing, up to a few hours.

Organic Rose Alba Hydrosol - Intense, spicy, vibrant yet with an innocent and pure fragrance like no other rose - this hydrosol is an indulgence and a necessity if you like pure and natural fragrance materials. Strong enough to be used as a raw material in perfumery, this certified Bulgarian hydrosol provides a true rose scent often found to be elusive in perfume. Limited quantity, fresh from the 2008 distillation.

Overseas customers contact first before ordering, please.

LIMIT - one purchase of Rose alba hydrosol per customer - I really want as many people as possible to experience this gorgeous rosewater. Click here to purchase.

Happy Holiday Wishes from Anya's Garden of Perfumes

Wishing you lovely perfume this holiday time of year

Check back tomorrow for another giveaway

Monday, December 22, 2008

Please don't vote for my blogs on ;-)

It's very sweet some readers nominated me for this blog and also the Natural Perfumers Guild blog - but I have no use for the prize, which is a gift certificate to a store that sells only perfumes containing synthetics. It's sort of like a vegetarian winning a prize hunk of meat. It's nice that they're gathering all the blogs and are going to put them into a common area, but please - save your votes where I'm concerned.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Want a Secretary of Agriculture that Supports Organic Ideals - Do You?

I've been writing about organic gardening since 1972 (admittedly for a school paper, but it was a start!) and organic agriculture since the mid 70's. In the 1990's I wrote Organic Gardening magazine asking why they didn't have a "Zone 10" (South Florida) writer and they asked me to write for them. I've started several community gardens that asked for (we couldn't demand) the gardeners to use only organic methods. The first was in 1976 in Riverside, California, at the married student housing center. So you can say I really have a decent resume in promoting organic gardening and farming methods, but this is the first time I've ever been fired up about the United States Secretary of Agriculture. Too often, we've only had tools of the ag chemical industry in that position, but hopefully this time we might get a voice for organic agriculture and hopefully (because I never stop hoping) sustainable agriculture.

A fellow on Facebook posted a link to this site on my wall there earlier today, and I'm passing it along. Seems the folks at the Organic Consumers Association have ranked 10 "good, bad or ugly" candidates replete with a shortie resume and lots of links for you to follow to make up your own mind. At the bottom of the page, under the candidate they deem "probable" you'll find a link to Democracy in Action page where you can fill in a form asking that Obama pick a "good" guy. Don't know if this kind of thing really works, but it does give you - well, me at least - a warm and fuzzy feeling that perhaps it might have an impact. Even if you don't fill in the form, at least you can bring yourself up to speed on the candidates and follow your own path to making your voice heard.

I source organic aromatics whenever possible because the pesticides used in conventional farms do "come over" in the extraction process and wind up concentrated in the final essential oil or absolute. Of course, I'm lucky that I can grown and extract many of my own organic essences because Anya's Garden really does exist, but I still do depend on outside sources for many of my aromatics that go into my perfume, and I'm sure you do, too. Then there's the whole spectrum of sustainable agricultural practices that go into a holistic view of growing that need to be considered, and I'd love to see more sustainable ag being promoted.

This is a critical time, and yes I must emphasize A Time for Change.

Friday, December 12, 2008

20% off Natural Perfumers Guild membership Fee Offered Through December 31, 2008

We welcome you to celebrate December is Natural Perfume Month and we invite you to visit the Natural Perfumers Guild site to learn more about us. We welcome you to join the Guild, and a 20% discount on the membership fee is being offered throughout December in celebration of Natural Perfume month.

Fill out the form on the Guild site this month and you will be refunded the difference of the discount.

Help us celebrate natural aromatics and work with us as we promote natural fragrances and educate the public as to the beauty of fragrance from a plant, not a test tube. The Natural Perfumers Guild supports artisanal distillers, works to lobby for fair business practices for artisan business owners, provides business support services and best of all - a network of like-minded people.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Anya's Garden Giveaway - the winners

Winners of the natural perfume samples and ambergris giveaway are - Stephanie (general public) - and Keri (from the Natural Perfumers Guild applicants.) Each giveaway will have two prizes - one for the general public and one for the members of the Guild.

Stephanie and Keri: please send me your mail address privately by visiting the contact page on my website:

Everyone else - a new giveaway will be announced in a few hours so check back!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pass me the oakmoss and a crooked banana I'm going to live dangerously - Fight the FDA Global Harmonization Act of 2008

I was noodling around the Internet this morning and found this:

"Until recently, the EU banned the sale of ugly carrots with knobby protrusions, cucumbers that were grossly curved, and equally unaesthetic specimens of 24 other fruits and vegetables. "It makes no sense to throw perfectly good products away, just because they are the 'wrong' shape," said the EU's commissioner for agriculture."

I've often related to disbelieving friends and colleagues that the EU is so out of hand with their Draconian, bad-science, big brother is watching you (and forcing you out of business) mentality that they regulated the curve in bananas. Too much curve, can't be sold in the EU. My particular peeve with them is the bad science and horrid fees they impose on perfumers both artisanal and corporate alike. They've been partly to blame for the reformulation of many perfume classics, deeming oakmoss and orange oil alike too dangerous for us poor silly uneducated masses to wear.

So then I found an article on their backing down on some veggie regs in the NYT. You have to be registered to read the full article, I think.

I'm so tired of the fight against their regs and their looming Global Harmonization, which, if plans of the FDA go through in implementing it, will be passed by Congress. Below are links to past blogs by myself on the EU and IFRA issues, and some blogs by others who are also involved in the fight against Global Harmonization.

Pass me the crooked banana and oakmoss - I feel like living dangerously. Not.


Oh, I'm exhausted. Ever wonder why I don't have more perfumes out? Heh.

Read. Remember. Rebel. That's all I ask.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The First Anya's Garden of Perfume Podcast - Perfumery Terms

Confused about chypre, ambergris, ylang ylang, absolute or concrete? Well, let my New York/Philly accented voice clue you in and I hope, help you out ;-) I originally recorded a version of this for my online perfumery course and I've seen over the years how often these terms are the subject of concern on my yahoo perfumery group, so have a listen - it's short and sweet ;-)

PS: Is this the first-ever perfumery podcast by a perfumer? I've searched and never found one. Let me know if you know of any, otherwise I'm laying claim to being the first perfumer to podcast. Beauty blogs where they pod about the latest perfume releases don't count, LOL.

Click below to play:

Anya's Garden Giveaway - Win a set of perfume samples and ambergris tincture

Anya's Garden is Celebrating the Redesigned Website with a Giveaway

Celebrate the Natural Perfumers Guild-designated "December is Natural Perfume Month" With Us!

Click on the graceful photo of Anya's Garden perfumes with a fabulous clereodendron flower and wander down the fragrant garden path to discover the new aromatherapy and potpourri line that I'll be launching next year. Post here with the name of the new line and you will be entered in a giveaway. The winner will receive a set of samples of Pan, Kaffir, Fairchild, RiverCali, Temple and a 2ml tincture of the legendary rare and gorgeous ambergris. These samples retail for $30 and the ambergris is very hard to find, and I know a lot of perfumistas would love to experience my private stash aged, glorious tincture.

This contest closes in five days on Dec 7th at midnight, so check back here after visiting my new site, and post. This offer is open to anyone anywhere in the world with the exception of Germany and Italy - I'm so sorry, but shipping there is very difficult, if not impossible. If you're in those countries and wish to participate, you may if you have a friend in another country willing to accept the goodies and figure out a way to get them to you.

Note: Natural Perfumers Guild members are ineligible for this giveaway, but if they post on this blog, they will be entered for a duplicate intra-Guild giveaway.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

20% off all Allured Publishing Media books through December 31, 2008

All Allured Publishing Media books on sale for 20% off through 12/31/08

The image above is of the Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin volume - generously offered separately by Allured when they realized the demand for it among natural perfumers. Previously it was bundled in a three-volume set and cost $900 dollars. When Guild member David Mark contacted them, and their Book Manager and I talked, they realized that the natural perfumery group on Yahoo and the Natural Perfumers Guild were signs that this book was needed as a solo item. We will forever be grateful to Allured Business Media for this.

For several months now Allured has made a very generous discount offer on all the books they publish. Now, through December 31, 2008 just use the code anyaperfume at checkout.

The Steffen Arctander book Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin is widely regarded as the natural perfumers bible. Click here for the Arctander book on - but don't limit yourself to just that classic - check out the vast library of industry-related books here via the extensive menu.

Coupon code: anyaperfume which offers 20% on all Allured books has been extended until the end of December 2008.

PS: The Natural Perfumers Guild is offering 20% off new memberships through December 31st, 2008 too!

Monday, December 01, 2008

December is Natural Perfume Month

The Natural Perfumers Guild Celebrates "December is Natural Perfume Month"

December is Natural Perfume Month - When Fragrant Trees and Wreaths Bring the Outdoors In, and Natural Perfume is the Gift of Choice for Many

For a limited time only - in celebration of Natural Perfume Month - join the Natural Perfumers Guild and receive 20% off your membership fee.

In 2006 The Natural Perfumers Guild named December Natural Perfume Month in recognition of the growing interest in natural fragrances. The first naturally-perfumed gifts associated with the month of December were frankincense and myrrh which we use in their pure form in our perfumes. Click below to see a picture of rare Hojari Frankincense incense, one of the most beautiful fragrances in the world:

Ancient traditions called for a fragrant conifer tree, wreaths and boughs decorating the home during this time of year. Today, the wonderful aroma of cooking with sweet spices like cinnamon and clove adds to the ambiance, creating a true holiday atmosphere. What was old is new, and what our ancestors smelled and delighted in 1000 years ago is the same today - naturally.

As we now celebrate the third year where we recognize Natural Perfume Month, we'd like to share our belief that the giving the gift of perfume and fragrant toiletries at the holidays can be made more special by choosing gifts made only with natural aromatics that come from flowers, leaves, woods and other botanicals. Blended artfully by professional perfumers and body care specialists in the Natural Perfumers Guild, these handmade luxurious scented treats continue the ancient heritage of natural fragrances.

The perfumers in the Guild offer traditional perfumes in an alcohol, oil or solid base, such as beeswax. Some of them also create soaps, lotions and other body care products that contain only natural fragrances, no synthetic scents.

Associate members of the Guild make soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, gift baskets, candles and many home and body care products with natural aromatics providing the scent - no synthetics.

We welcome you to celebrate December is Natural Perfume Month and we invite you to visit the Natural Perfumers Guild site to learn more about us. If you are interested in joining the Guild, a 20% discount on the membership fee is being offered throughout December in celebration of Natural Perfume month. Fill out the form on the Guild site and you will be refunded the difference of the discount.

Help us celebrate natural aromatics and work with us as we promote natural fragrances and educate the public as to the beauty of fragrance from a plant, not a test tube. The Natural Perfumers Guild supports artisanal distillers, works to lobby for fair business practices for artisan business owners, provides business support services and best of all - a network of like-minded people.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Perfume is a Luxury that is a Necessity and Timing is Everything

The dreamy, sensual image above is the chosen graphic for one of my two new perfumes, MoonDance. It's one of the few images I've used that aren't either a collage piece of art that I created or a photograph I took. I just fell in love with it when I saw it, and it snapped me right out of the mindset I was in, with rather literal images of people dancing under a full moon.

I also believe that the image helps a person imagine the gossamer beauty of a perfume, wafting and swirling up off their skin, an item of delight - and don't we all need a little delight right now? As my friend Chris said "I refuse to participate in this recession." You might not be able to buy a new car, or you're worried about your job, but a recent article - or two or three - have pointed out that perfume and lipstick are two luxuries women refuse to give up when the economy tanks.

I've decided to push back the launch of MoonDance, and it's accompanying launch partner, StarFlower until after the New Year. True to the ladies loving luxury, I'm overbooked with custom perfumery work, and holding of on some consultation work because there just aren't enough hours in the day. Loving perfumery as I do, I refuse to skip corners or rush things along.

Here's a look at the photo for StarFlower perfume. It's a photo I took several years ago of the single-flowered tuberose I grow in my garden. It's so dreamy and hazy and yet so commanding looking in its solitary splendor. I may retweak the labels I'm using for this because I want to crop the image in closer. Tell me what you think about the images because for once I'm not waiting until the launch to reveal the images. I just wanted to share them with everyone. You can twitter or find me on Facebook - oh, and here on Facebook, too - a new group I added today. Oh, if you click on the image of the Vietnamese gardenia on my twitter page, it open in a page at its full size - glorious! I took that photo a few months ago and use it on each page of my (hush - not officially launched yet) new website. Its at the bottom of the menu on the new website, but I do love it in all it's white flower showiness as seen on twitter, don't you?

Of course, Vietnamese gardenia tincture is in StarFlower, and heck, I may change the image of StarFlower to that because it really is yummy, isn't it?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Herbal Perfumed Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving always is the day when I give thanks for living in the subtropics because the weather has cooled down from steam bath to cool and breezy. It's also the real beginning of our growing season. This year I regret not getting tomatoes or veggies in the ground yet because I've been so busy, but my herbs are always booming at this time of year and ready to go into the holiday dishes.

I harvested bay leaf, sweet marjoram, oregano, lemon balm and lemongrass today, and I just love the slight fragrance they leave on my fingers throughout the day. The meal is in various stages of preparation, and I'm feeling very relaxed, fulfilled and happy. What more could you ask for on a Thanksgiving day? I'm thankful for everything in my life, it's all wonderful and prosperous.

I'm especially thankful for natural perfumery, because the gorgeous botanical essences compliment a meal, and a gathering of people because of their understated scent - you won't have to "smell/taste" the perfume of the person next to you if they're wearing a natural perfume.

The connection of growing herbs and other scented plants is very much tied in with the philosophy and ethos of natural botanical perfume. My garden is an extension of my art, and there is a seamless connection between it all. Just the other day someone looked at me and said "I'll bet you never move from this house." I have plans to move to Austin Texas but between the housing market and my mother's increasing frailty, those plans have been put on hold. I always hope that I'll make the move, and part of my plan is that the house would have a huge solarium/passive heating greenhouse attached. It is becoming more apparent as the years pass that I truly crave and need to have fragrant plants growing around me all year long.

Something to really evaluate as I ponder the move.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What type of perfume blogger are you?

Actually, this test can analyze your blog personality, perfumer or not. I found this fun bit of time-wasting silliness floating around the 'net. Supposedly based on the Myers-Briggs Personality system (which has classified me as a Field Marshal in lengthy tests I took a few years ago.) Maybe I'm mellowing with age. Probably not, but truthfully I guess I have little patience for time wasting, although my silliness meter is often set pretty high. So I'm a "Doer" aka an ESTP. The image of a teenage dribbler for the Doer is pretty silly, actually, but I'm game. Get it - game? OK, so here's my profile:

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

How to tie this in with perfumery? Well, I'm a firm believer that a perfumer must have a solid grounding in logic (thinking) and sensing which this graph describes as order, habit, details. That's how I create perfumes and how I teach it. You can't spell or write if you don't learn your "abc's", and if you start out by being a feeling or intuitive perfumer, you'll create mud. Every time. Or, say you hit upon a nice accord or series of accords you feel are "pretty" you'll repeat them time and time again. I've seen this time and time again. The artistic perfumer is a thinking, logical perfumer with a some intuition in the mix and some feeling for the process.

Just as with writing - your left hemisphere must be engaged or you'll write gibberish. I'll bet this test finds the majority of bloggers are mostly left hemisphere in their analysis and writings, otherwise well, you'd have gibberish, muddy blogs. It's like some who take a phrase I put out there - alpha brainwave mode for creation - and get it all wrong. The silly part of me kind of enjoys it when I see it repeated incorrectly. It's kind of like seeing somebody skim the cover of a book or magazine you write and they have the intent and content incorrect and pass it off as 'the word." Yes, that's just plain silly.

And the Field Marshal in me is saying "back to work, or at least thinking about work!" - LOL!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The demise of natural perfume ingredients from Grasse? Perhaps the rest of World should take up the slack.

I blogged a few days ago about the decline of the rose-de-mai farmland in Grasse and a French Perfumer, Isabelle Gelle commented on the Natural Perfumery group listing the reasons she perceived to be at fault, and offering her prediction as to the future of rose (and other natural aromatics) production. Reprinted here with permission:

To me, there are 2 main guilty ones:

1) the consumers who will not pay for pure rose products because as mentioned in the article 'rose is not rose' any longer - I actually browsed the latest website of Scents of Time in which I saw that the
great idea of reproducing various Scents of Time has been once again transformed into another 'chemical' venture, using the now widely spread HEADSPACE technique (which is still leading to reproducing
scents in a laboratory).

2) the European Union who by trying to place every citizen in a sterilised bubble and create a Federal Europe is slowly killing national identities and regional specialties. Note: link and photo from a previous anya's garden blog)

In the end of the day, the decision lies in the willpower of the people to preserve their heritage. Despite the pressure of EU, the French succeeded in making their 'Foie Gras (goose liver pate)' a national
heritage product which cannot be touched. Why don't the Grasse producers (who are all gathered under the Association of Producers in Grasse) fight for the same?

If Grasse producers were setting up a lobbying group to put pressure on the government to declare Grasse and its production fields, national heritage, they would win. I believe that if the rose producer is selling to real estate agents, it is because they get a good financial deal out of it: nothing less, nothing more... France has entered a recession 6 months ago so any buck from real estate developers is welcomed however sad it might be...

However sad it is, I am convinced that rose oil will still be produced in various countries (existing and future) and Grasse is slowly loosing its status of 'capital of perfumery'...

My 2 cents...


Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Fairchild perfume as a food flavoring? Two perfumistas surprise me!

This is a graphic collage I created for the launch of Fairchild,
the first perfume in the Anya's Garden line.

The image is meant to show the wild and exuberant nature of the perfume, where citrus and powerful tropical flowers mix with seaweed and clamshells - yes, toasted clamshells. The levels of drydown are many - some joke over a dozen according to their nose. It's such a strong perfume I can only wear it at night, because if I wear it during the day I become woozy, it's that narcotic and demands that much of your attention.

Imagine my surprise when I checked back into the comments section on Perfume Shrine today and saw that both Helg of PS and Maria of the BitterGrace blog are asking I create some food that contains Fairchild. The blog topic was cooking with animal essences, so I suppose the ambergris, dosed generously in Fairchild, was the jumping-off point for the request.

It did get me to thinking - perhaps a drop in vodka? A drop in some honey? It would certainly be intoxicating and exciting to eat or drink. On such stimulus, from friends whom I hold in high regard as connoisseurs of scent and food, will I move forward. Fairchild chocolate!?.

Cross Cultural Differences - Scent Memory and Continental/Cultural Perfume Learning Experiences

A student in my online perfumery course stopped me short during our live chat the other day: she had no scent memory connections with the aromatics in the study kit supplied with the course. She's from Nigeria, and rose, jasmine, lemon, etc. - many of the common scents we know and associate with people or places in our past have no reference point for her. I'm just guessing here, but I suppose they just aren't used in the home and environment as they are here. I'll have to ask if there are any lemon-based dishes or lemon-accented food in Nigeria. I have a book on perfumes made for regions of Africa based on the travels of several French perfumers. Perhaps that will assist me in helping her.

There are, of course, many aromatics produced for perfumery in Africa: rose geranium, jasmine and rose, frankincense, grapefruit, clove, vanilla, etc. Since we were in the middle of class, I didn't have time to question her in depth, but I did promise to look further into how to help her create scent memories now "in real time" so she could go forth with her studies.

Perhaps since I know she lives in the Carolinas now, I can suggest she sniff the diluted oakmoss absolute and then see if she has associations with the briny salt quality of it and the Carolina shore. Maybe she can visit a tobacco store and sniff the various tobaccos to get to know that scent and memorize it. Vanilla? Bake a cake? Squeeze oranges for juice? She'll have a lot of catching up to do, quickly, and I'll assist her via a phone call and encouragement to create those scent memories - now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Obama Natural Perfume project moves forward

Members of the Yahoo Natural Perfumery group are moving forward with the plans I wrote about earlier. We wish to create a series of perfumes in honor of the election of Barack Obama, unifying the perfumes under one theme yet to be decided. The project is less than a week old, and many ideas have been submitted on the NP group, but we felt to be able to sort through participating members ideas and lists, we needed to create a smaller group for the project. Above is the photo just uploaded to the new group's webpage, and below is the draft description:

This is a cooperative worldwide project of natural perfumers wishing to create a perfume honoring the spirit of unity and progressiveness we feel because of the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

We are going to create a list of natural aromatics that have relevance to the new President: oils from Africa, Indonesia, America and perhaps all the continents will be considered. We will refine the list and each perfumer will create a perfume from any they choose from that list.

Then the perfumes will be collected and sent to the President. We will decide on packaging, message and other details as this is a cooperative effort meant to show several things, including the beauty of natural perfumes, the O.N.E. factor - Obama's New Era - and all of the associated HOPE and CHANGE. Each perfumer will choose the name for their perfume and we will decide on a phrase - such as ONE, HOPE or CHANGE to use as our unifying title for the project.

There will be frequent updates as this project moves forward.

On the critically endangered list: Rose de Mai from Grasse, one of the most beloved perfume ingredients

Rosa centifolia harvested in Grasse, France

Natural perfumer Haley Alexander van Oosten visited the rose fields of Grasse, France for the harvest and reports on some sad, inevitable news in the Huffington Post. She reports that the general public is so used to the scent of fake rose that they choose it in a sniff comparison. The price difference, declining demand and land development pressures may soon make this lovely oil a thing of the past.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just got my review copy of Roja Dove's book "The Essence of Perfume

This is quite a beautiful book, lots of eye candy which links the mind to the scent candy. I'll be reviewing it soon, but all I can say for now is that I am very happy with it, just glancing through it, as it is a book I know I'll treasure for the photos. Shallow, yes, but eye candy is lovely, isn't it? ;-)

I'll post here when the review is up - it will be on Basenotes.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

So nice to see my works and methods copied, but please give me credit

When I discovered, a few years ago that Justine Crane, a very ambitious and gregarious perfumer, was happily taking ideas I posted in my Natural Perfumery group on Yahoo and posting them on her Yahoo group (as her own ideas), I contacted her and asked nicely that she credit me. Emails were exchanged, and in a telephone conversation she agreed, but nothing happened, so I let it slide - there are probably tens of thousands of words written by me over the years on the group, and if one person decides that the stuff is just too good to pass up, I decided I have to learn to live with it. In fact, I even sent her an early release of another Primer I did on the IFRA issue regarding regulation of aromatics to show there was no bad blood.

After all, isn't it just the idea that knowledge and ideas have to be shared?

Unless it's taken and passed off as one's own works with no credit. I wrote previously how Ruth Ruane violated copyright and posted my Primer contents on her blog (since removed.) Turns out Ruth, who has little or no perfumery experience, established a perfumery school and named herself director. Then named Justine teacher. Well, I'm sorry to report that Justine has now authored a Primer, and now posts a method that I, and only I, have previously shared. One part of the sharing was in the Yahoo group, the other in my Primer only. I'm the only perfumery teacher to use a specific method of scent evaluation and it's in Justine's latest blog, along with a specific secondary method. I know nobody else has taught this, and I know it was in the copyright-violated Primer, so it's easy to put two and two together.

They're offering a "free" perfumery course, but you have to purchase the Primer, and the kit, and other supplies from them. They're using the Moodle platform I trailblazed for perfumery, the year-long module/unit structure, and many other copycat elements.

I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I'm very flattered. However, not getting credit and having ones work passed off as someone else's is just, well, you fill in the words. In the perfumery world, there are copycat fragrance producers, so now I guess we have copycat teachers.

Anyone who is in my group or my class knows that I offer knowledge freely, and have done so for eight years (counting the perfumery group I had before Yahoo.) I love to teach, and I love to guide students on the perfumery path, but I have to admit - stealing my works stinks.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Celebrating Obama's Election - the Natural Perfumery Group on Yahoo is Blending up a Celebratory Perfume - Naturally!

The photo that has graced the main page of the Yahoo Natural Perfumery Group for six years

The Natural Perfumery Group on Yahoo that I host has a fun project just beginning. Some of us were posting today about how elated we are about Obama's election, and we decided to do something to celebrate - create a perfume in honor of the new era his presidency will usher in. Not sure how many will participate, since we just started posting about it a few hours ago, but I'm sure it will be international in scope, since the members - almost 1700 of them at this time - come from countries all over the globe.

Evie - Selkie - posted a deliriously happy note about the election to the group that Adam picked up on, and I said something to the effect that this would be a wonderful extension of our artistic and emotional response to the election if we created a perfume. Here are the suggestions I threw out to get us started:

Why don't we turn this into a group project?
We could have worldwide participation here!

We could brainstorm on the aromatics that best represent the new era and the celebration.

Those who wish to participate could commit to a blending group to swap our mods.

That way we could see what everyone else is coming up with.

I think it would be a lot of fun!

I have a Perfume Brief form I use for my students I could upload when
we're ready.

You'd fill in the form, upload it back here so everyone could access it
at anytime, and start the swaps.

Participants could enter their names and addresses in a database phone book I'd set up here.

It could be an incredible, bonding, fragrant project!

First, we need a name for it - I just tossed out Obama New Era, but that is rather weak. I'd like to hear what others think, and we could vote on it, then work out the aromatics, and then get to creating a perfume in
honor of the new era.

Goodness, the communal hippie side of me is showing ;-) Let the blending and bonding and swapping begin!

Redesigning my Anya's Garden Perfumes Website

Anya's Garden Perfumes website due to relaunch with redesign in a few days.

The photo above was taken by me two years ago on the spur of the moment with the only flower I could find blooming in my garden that day. It's a clereodendron and it's fragrant, and it's just "right." Paul Kiler, the photographer, cleaned up the photo and brightened it, and I am thankful for his help and his skills (see photo below.) The photo will be the "splash" page for the new website. Click on the photos to see them full size.

You know how it is - artists always need to redesign, tweak, reevaluate and just plain fix everything. I was increasingly unhappy with my old website, despite lovely people telling me it was beautiful. It's still up there for now, but over time I have fiddled with the code and just found it blah.

My webguy didn't respond to my request (probably sick of the templates I had sent his way, they were too complicated) and I found I had to do it all myself. Taught myself a lot about coding in the past week, and by accident, hit upon an aesthetic that I love, absolutely love. Would would have thought I'd go towards pastels!? Not me, but pastels it is and I'm totally happy. To those that I've given sneak peeks, the response is as good as the response I got for the recently-redesigned Natural Perfumers Guild website, which I also did, from a template, with the webguy's help.

I guess I stuck to working with my old template because the complicated database and php stuff he put in there scared me - I was afraid if I got a new template I might not transfer it properly.

But....back to aesthetics, which, of course, is what perfume is all about. Whether considering the juice, the packaging, or the website, the aesthetics are Number 1. Packaging is a nightmare for perfumers, and I'm luck to have found my perfect boxes recently. Their discovery came together quickly, just like the new website. When it's right, everything flows, that's for sure.

Photo credit: Paul Kiler

I sent some bottles of perfume and boxes to Paul Kiler in California, and he's turned out a series of gorgeous photos. Amazingly, they fit the aesthetic of the website, even though they were taken before I stumbled upon the new design this weekend. I was going to have a white background - and after I ditched it for the new background - which you'll see when I launch the site - I was afraid Paul's photos wouldn't look right. One test page and I was happily proven wrong. It all came together. It's so beautiful. Sigh.

You'll have to wait to see it. I know you'll love it. I've never seen a website like it before. Simple, beautiful. Pastel. Still giggling over that - I'm such a jeweltone person!

Actually, I'm going to announce a different aesthetic for my upcoming perfumes - scent aesthetic, that is. I guess I'm just full of surprises lately. I'm even surprising myself!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Vetiver - soil microbes create the scent and create healing properties, too

Photo of soil microbe Rhizobium beneficially infecting the root of black eyed peas. The swollen nodules are the little "houses" the Rhizobium built by tunneling into the root. The Rhizobium supplies nitrogen to the plant, thus lessening the need for nitrogen fertilizer, cutting down on water pollution and costs.

I love looking at the cycle of nature and how it relates to perfumery. Taste and scent are closely related, soil health and plants are a given equation, and how the world of insects and microbes interact with all of the above is fascinating.

I have a background of study in agriculture, plant science and economic botany. I took courses in plant physiology, plant ecology, soil science and various other related subjects. It always is a wonder and a delight to read of yet another secret unlocked by plant scientists. The latest bit of information added to our knowledge database involves the symbiotic relationship between soil microbes and the roots of vetiver plants. Vetiver, prized in the cosmetic, aromatherapy, Ayurvedic and perfumery arts, is the only grass root used for its scent. Deep, earthy vetiver - you can smell the earth and water in it. Dry, grounding and containing fixative properties (it can help the drydown of a perfume in extending the life of the perfume), vetiver roots now show us how they evolved with another biological entity - a lively soil bacteria - to create its scent.

Not only is the scent made more complex and valuable because of the soil microbes, these microbes also add properties of antibacterial, antioxidant and insecticidal to the list of uses for vetiver oil. To quote the article: "microbiologists Pietro Alifano and Luigi Del Giudice, the plant biologist Massimo Maffei and their colleagues found that Vetiver root cells produce a few oil precursors, which are then metabolised by the root bacteria to build up the complexity of the Vetiver oil."

The ability to look at the cellular level of plants, their root zone and the soil was opened up to me at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and the University of California, Riverside. Those schools housed fabulous plant and soil science departments, and I loved to soak all that knowledge in. I must admit I have forgotten a lot over the years, but some things really are memorable: soil science lab where we actually tasted soils. Yes, acid soil is sour, and alkaline soil is sweet. The scent of wet earth after a rain is mostly due to the expelled gas of soil microbes - I think - I do admit my memory is a little fuzzy there.

Soil is not just "dirt" under our feet. It is a world unto itself, teeming with microbes, insects and charged with gases like nitrogen and oxygen. It's a veritable other world under our feet, and we're still discovering its secrets every day.

Back in the late 70's, my ex-husband was a soil microbiologist working towards his PhD and I was his non-science-oriented helper. I still learned a lot about nitrogen-fixing bacteria increasing the yield of black-eyed peas, gas chromatographs and massspectromaters, the patience and precision needed in scientific studies, and most of all, the need to keep your eyes open to all possibilities in the biological world - there are always surprises and discoveries to me made.

This vetiver/microbe discovery is just joyful to me. I love this stuff. My mind races ahead, fantasizing about soil or ocean discoveries to be made in the future - maybe one will give us a replacement for the musk deer sac so prized, and now prohibited, in perfumery.

One amazing story remains with me from those studies so long ago, and reinforces the desire to experiment after closely observing the forces of nature: some scientist went to South America and noticed the forest-dwelling people applying mud to their cuts and scrapes. Aren't we taught to keep out cuts and scrapes as clean as possible? This schmutzing of a wound confounded the scientists, so they took samples of the soil and found the fungus Streptomyces present. It was the fungus that was antibacterial, and that lead to the development of actinomycin antibiotics, which have saved many lives.

Here are some older links from the website hosting the article cited here. They might be oldies but goodies, but they really interest me: how Turkish essential oils like rosemary and peppermint are better at defeating aphids on plants that other methods (my opinion: the oils don't have to be Turkish.) Or another article on how oregano oil may combat drug-resistant bacteria - funny - on one hand the bacteria help the plant, but the oils from a plant can be used against the microbes.

Just a fun musing on a lazy Sunday afternoon to share with y'all. Motto: don't underestimate dirt - or bugs. It's all a part of the cycle of life, and the air we breathe, the food we eat, the perfume we wear - it's all connected.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tagged! Surprised there's no perfume by that name

Lucy of Indie Perfumes has tagged me - it a way to open up the rolodex of perfume bloggers out there. Here's the scoop on how to participate.

1. Link to the person who tagged you. (Lucy, above, in a fantasy pic with me, festooned with birds - why not?)
2. Post the rules on your blog. (here they are)
3. Write six random things about yourself. (below)
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them. (below)
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog. (makes sense)
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up. (OK)

Six random things about me:

1. I've always wanted to live in an "underground" earthship type house. A Bucky Fuller dome would be second.

2. For as much as I'm in the car, I've never had road rage, and that's saying something in Miami, voted the worst city in the USA for bad drivers. I just shine them on - they have guns!

3. My fingernails and hair grow like they're on steroids - long and lush and strong. And quickly.

4. I'm legally blind in one eye with 20/400 vision - I can't see in 3-D, I have no depth perception, etc. Paul Klee painted like I see.

5. I hitchhiked cross-country by myself for the adventure. Took me four days and somebody tried to give me a car on the journey, which I declined.

6. My dreams are often filled with scent and color - and fabulous storylines. I love to dream. Last night there were giant asparagus lining the road. Sometimes an asparagus is just an asparagus. Even if there are hundreds of five foot ones.

Here are my choices for the tag - great bloggers all, great people, too.

Bois de Jasmin -- Victoria was one of the original perfume bloggers back in '05, and I'm trying to nudge her into posting more often. Everyone misses her!

Perfume Smelling Things -- Marina writes beautifully, reports on perfume houses large and tiny, and has a great sense of humor

MossyLoomings -- Aimee keeps it real - real perfume that is - from Austin, which seems to be a perfume hotspot. I think.

A Little Olfactory -- not perfume, but musings on the raw materials, how we smell stuff, etc., from a trusted supplier

Andy Tauer-- a perfumer who shares and schmoozes and globe trots.

Fragrance Bouquet -- Divina's Divine views on perfume and life.

Patchouli Panties

Photo of patchouli plant in Anya's Garden

This is an genderless post, men and women can play patchouli panties/bras/undies/boxers/tighty whities!

I've written here before I don't use scented laundry detergent. Think it's unnecessary, plus I try to keep my nose as "clean" as possible from extraneous scents.

I keep large folded stacks of cotton washcloths in my bathroom for drying hands. Very sanitary, better than towels.

About 10 days ago I had a patchouli spill in my perfumery studio. It was minor (thank goodness, with the price of patchouli, and this was gorgeous aged patchouli) and the spill tray caught it. After I poured the bulk of it back into the bottle, I grabbed one of the washcloths (had it nearby for a reason I forget now) splashed some alcohol on it, and wiped the tray clean. Even though only a teaspoon or so, the cloth reeked. Strong stuff. Tossed it into the hamper. Forgot about it.

I wash my undies and washcloths together.

Opened the garage door to get them from the washer and thought "why does it smell like patchouli in here?"

Of course, I had forgotten about the patchouli spill.

Oddly, when I put the damp laundry into the dryer, I didn't detect the scent.

When I folded the laundry I "got it."

Garage smelled like patchouli for two days.

The scent is so light and delicate - it's beautiful.

On my underthings it's practically undetectable.

But - when I dampen a washcloth to wash my face - gorgeous!

I have about 50 washcloths, so I'll be enjoying this for some time.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Perfumer? Body Care Business? Own a Small Business? Oppose the "bailout" proposal for the US. Fight the FDA Globalization Act of 2008!

Vote Down H.R. 3997, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

If you own a small business - and I know this blog is read by a lot of small business owners in the cosmetics and beauty industries - please be aware that the "bailout" bill being proposed by our government can harm your businesses.

Donna Maria Coles Johnson of the Indie Beauty Network has blogged about this situation here and I encourage you to go to her site, read the article, and send the letter to your senators and congressional representatives. I have had trouble reaching my representative via email because the site keeps crashing due to high volume, so I called his local and his D.C. office to register my vote against the bill.

Act now - this is a very time-sensitive and business-sensitive matter!
Fight the FDA Globalization Act of 2008!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Depth and Breadth of Resources on Learning Perfumery at Anya's Garden Online Course

I have been reviewing and updating the Online Perfumery Course website in anticipation of the new semester starting October 6th. You can read more in-depth about what is offered at my perfume website.

The realization that what you'll find on the perfume site is probably one of the most professional, comprehensive offerings in studying perfumery is very evident when you click on the syllabus and/or visit the blog site for the course. The effort of the past 16 months of site-building for content is reflected in the extensive amount of learning materials on the website. I have to say it's full of amazing resources!

Lectures: The new student body will find five lectures available for the first Module, just to get them oriented. There's also a pronunciation lecture to help folks know their ylang from their chypre ;-) Each Module is accompanied by at least one recorded lecture, some have more.

Primer: The Primer for the course was edited by an aromatherapist who is also a paralegal and was provided via email to the students when the revision was completed in February. The Natural Perfumery Primer offers just a tiny taste of what is delved into in depth on the website. The Primer lays the foundation for detailed and demanding experiential exercises in learning perfumery.

Module Content: Every month the students enjoy new and exciting Checklist, Objectives and Assignments.

Books and Articles: Over the years, I have collected dozens of antiquarian perfumery and toiletry books and articles in PDF format, and they're available for the students online. Additionally, links to sites of interest and to expand their learning process are included.

Daily Interaction: The Yahoo groups I maintain for private student/teacher interaction are usually busy. We meet there for live chats, and that's also where guest perfume industry professionals have joined us for discussions.

Aromatics Kit: The students have commented that the kit contains some of the most glorious-smelling natural aromatics that they have ever experienced. I will be selling them independently of the course within a month or so.

I've neglected this blog for a few weeks as I have been readying the site and supplemental materials for the new students. I hope to return to more frequent blogging soon - perhaps to chat about the 21 modifications for Starflower, the gorgeous gourmand perfume that I'm working on. It's built around "tasty tuberose" and takes a sweet flight of fancy with a natural isolate I adore! Later, take care....Anya

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Time for Charity and Compassion - And Animal Rescue Has Come a Long Way!

Sad Scene from Hurricane Katrina 2005 - God Bless the Animal Rescue Plans in Place in 2008!

We all know the horrifying stories: When Katrina hit in 2005, many people drowned because they refused to leave their beloved family pets behind, and when the waters rose, many of the people and the pets alike drowned. Some animals, perhaps like the dog above, were left behind, or escaped and were left to fend for themselves. Most were never reunited with their people.

The mass evacuation of almost two million people in the path of Hurricane Gustav was historic, calm, and for the first time ever, included pets. Pets were given collars with bar codes, loaded onto transport, and in most cases, were able to stay at special shelters with their owners. It was heartwarming and wonderful to see.

I donated today to Noah's Wish, and I encourage you to also donate - perhaps to the Humane Society, Noah's Wish, or some other pet rescue operation.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Newbie member of Natural Perfumery group posts message #1000, wins rare aromatics

Natural Perfumery Group on Yahoo is very active, with over 1600 members, 15 new ones in the past week alone, and over 1000 messages this month!

Lucky Linda from Iowa introduced herself as a newbie member of the Yahoo group for Natural Perfumery that I've hosted for over six years. We always welcome newbies, and love to hear from them. Linda bemoaned the fact that she works in a florist shop where she is surrounded by scentless flowers! Breeding for looks and the ability to withstand shipping long distances has resulted in roses with no scent - how sad.

The group is very active, with a LOT of dialogue between members on subject as far-ranging as fixatives, sourcing, tincturing plants from their garden, etc. We've had a surge in posts in the past month or two, and I was watching as we approached the 1000th post for the month of August - and it was Linda's intro.

This week a sample of rare florals will be in the mail to her in Iowa for her good fortune in posting #1000. She'll receive rose, jasmine, osmanthus, boronia and pandanus.

Congratulations, Linda, and best wishes in your path in natural perfumery.

The image for this post is the one that has been on the front page of the group since Day One. I once held a poll on the group a few years ago to see if the members wanted it changed, and they voted no. It's so evocative - we'd choose flowers over gold and pearls. Yes, we would ;-)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My response to Ruth Ruane - quoting her and her past actions

My Primer for my online natural perfumery course is copyrighted.

Ruth Ruane aka White Witch is a former student and former member of the huge NP group I host who has been posting, without permission, and in violation of a copyright notice, excerpts of the original rough draft version of my Natural Perfumery Primer on her various blogs. I don't believe she will cease and desist this action, but perhaps what follows will give a clearer picture of the background on this issue. I have no publisher to back me on this, since I publish the Primer. Not she, or anyone else, has the legal or ethical right to post excerpts, except for small bits, with permission. She has stated her intent to post the entire Primer, over time. Ruth Ruane is, for the record, the only student who had a complaint. My online class for natural perfumery has dozens of great students enrolled, and I have testimonials to prove they find the coursework challenging, educational and that it is helping advance their careers in perfumery.

If there is just a single person complaining - Ruth Ruane aka whitewitchzita, and her posts contain libel and rancorous immature rants. Upon review of the following, you will be able to determine motivation. Ruth Ruane recently declared in an interview that she wants to be "the most famous natural perfumer in the world." Then she established an "academy" for perfumery. Very ambitious.

When Ruth Ruane quit the class, she filed numerous complaints against me. Only a week before quitting she was praising me publicly in the class and on the natural perfumery group. Her turnaround seems to be motivated by embarrassment at being put on moderation due to very inappropriate posts she was making to the class via group email, and bullying of the classmates, which they complained about.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) received two complaints from Ruane, the second submitted after her first was rejected. They then rewarded me with a B+ rating due to her harassment, which signals they found my business policies and practices to be "very good." Ironically, I had a "C" rating with them before, which is the average rating of a company they know nothing about. So actually, that worked well for me.

In late November, a few days after she quit, it became apparent that Ruth Ruane stole the NP group email list and spammed the 1600 members - it took months of apologies on my part to clean up her mess.

The following is a very long response I wrote when she complained to the Guild, the BBB, the Florida State attorneys' office, and the local Consumer Protection Agency. They all found her claims to be without merit, and advised me I should sue her for libel. I refuse to do so, as I realize Ruth has problems that, if you read her many blogs against me, are deep and in need of sympathy.

I have dozens of students, including a PhD, certified aromatherapists, several attorneys and none of them have complaints. Why? Well, that is the reason for this revealing post - Ruth Ruane had an agenda. Very sad, but true, and I only hope she can get help for her obsession and anger.

She has now established the "Natural Perfume Academy". A friend enrolled last year when she offered classes for free, and informed me that Ruth Ruane used the Moodle platform I pioneered for natural perfumery, she used my Primer, slightly rewritten, my evaluation forms, and many methods, such as dilution and organoleptic studies. She and another person who has often taken posts from the NP Yahoo group I host are now calling the Primer a Handbook.  Justine Crane is the instructor for this course, since Ruth Ruane does not make perfumes.  How can a director of a learning academy have no experience in the field?

I stand by my syllabus, my teaching methods and my award-winning perfumes. They are original and my product.

Update: I feel so uncomfortable having her language on my blog, I have removed the post. If anyone wishes to read the formal response I gave to the agencies and the Guild, please email me from here and I'll send it as an attachment. Thank you for understanding.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Not perfume, just fun and had to share - Lulu the Lulupalooza kitty

I submitted this photo to the famous LOLCats site, I can has cheezburger, and it's in the queue, but I just wanted to share it with y'all in a rare non-perfumed post. Lulu is the apple of my eye, the most amazing sweet crazy kitty ever. She'll be four on Sept. 1st, and she still does the mountain goat act of leaping to the top of the door/bookcase/armoire.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Plants Hunters and Helpful Hands in Natural Perfumery

Gardenia flower

When I was in school studying Economic Botany, (scroll down) I reveled in tales of the Plant Hunters. These were adventurous botanists who traveled to remote regions looking for plants that would be useful to us. Many focused on medicinal plants, but I was obsessed with fragrant plants - of course! I never did become a Plant Hunter, and was a bit disheartened to learn that for the past decade or so, the Plant Hunters tend to be governed by the headspace machine, which although it captures the scent of the flower, results ultimately in a recreation of the scent with synthetic chemicals. Headspace proponents argue that by doing so, they are ultimately protecting the plant because there is no need to harvest it.

Well, I like my essences natural and I like them renewable, and I especially like the idea that there are still Plant Hunters like Trygve Harris of Enfleurage in New York and other entrepreneural souls who strive to establish new plantations and grassroots industries where folks can grow and distill natural aromatics.

I will expand the designation of Plant Hunter to include folks like Trygve and the many natural and botanical perfumers who are Scent Hunters. We tincture and infuse, distill and try our hand at enfleurage to coax the aromatic molecules out of sometimes common and more often, not-so-common plants and flowers with scent.

Trygve worked with some inventive people in Colombia to extract the scent of gardenia, tuberose and "chicle." Gardenia is the elusive Holy Grail of the perfumer's palette. Decades ago, the quest for gardenia absolute was upstaged by the ability of the chemist to produce a cheap substitute with synthetic chemicals. Some are starting to produce an absolute of Tahitian gardenia, but I have not received my sample of that yet. Tahitian gardenia is not the Holy Grail that Gardenia jasminoides (and related species) is, but it is tropical and sultry and we would be happy to have it as a substitute.

Back to Trygve and the Colombians. Using ingenuity, they fashioned an enfleurage-type process, and I am the happy recipient of the historic first batch of what Trygve is calling an "essential oil" of gardenia. Well, to me, it's a sort of hybrid between enfleurage and distillation, emphasis on enfleurage. I received the gardenia, tuberose and "chicle" and some gardenia "butter" (all described on Trygve's blog) today, and they are all lovely.

They are faint in scent, not as strong as an absolute, and Trygve explained this to me before I purchased them. I said that's OK, I want them for the historic factor :-) She will be returning to Colombia to work with them on perfecting the extraction process so as to produce a stronger scent. I know it can be done, and I applaud their efforts.

The gardenia is delightful, sweet, a bit indolic, fruity, lactonic and reminiscent of many tropical flowers. It doesn't scream "gardenia" but we all know how the extracts of aromatics are rarely true to the original, fresh flower.

The gardenia butter is much stronger, yummy, and longlasting. It's a bit "greener" than the oil.

The tuberose is also faint, but lovely and recalls a drift of tuberose flower, as if wafting on the breeze.

The chicle confused me. As a botanist specializing in tropical and subtropical plants, I know the chicle tree as a sort of rubber tree. The bark is scored and the latex that oozes out is collected and made into Chiclet gum (not nowadays, though, they use synthetic gums.) I had no experience with the flowers being fragrant. I called Enfleurage today and an employee read me off the botanical name, and I started to laugh.

This is why it's so important to know the botanical name of the plant - the flower called "chicle" in Colombia is the flower of the Clerodendrum fragrans - a Glory Bower, and a weed in my front yard! It's also called Cashmere Bouquet flower because it smells like that powder and soap. I have over a quart of the strong extract of the flowers. Heady stuff!

Clereodendrum fragrans from my front yard

I was told that they're going to focus on the gardenia for the future, and that is wonderful - I just can't wait for future harvests and extractions.

Others who are also helping in the effort to bring a remunerative industry to another country are the folks from Haiti who traveled to Rwanda and set up a patchouli plantation and distillation factory. I blogged about them before, linking to a You Tube series of videos on the effort. I am having lunch next week with one of the principals in the company because as luck would have it, she lives in Miami. They have a vetiver distillation factory in Haiti, and are interested in beginning work with other aromatics. These are exciting times!

Arghand, in Afghanistan, is a member of the Natural Perfumers Guild, and Guild member Butch Owen of AV-AT, who has decades of experience in nearby regions, and over a decade experience with rose distillation, will be traveling, visa and insurance willing, to Afghanistan to meet with Sarah Chayes in the Fall to see about setting up rose fields and distillation units there on a larger scale.

It's a new breed of Plant Hunters, entrepreneurs with a natural soul, and I'm glad to be a part of their circle of scent.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Anya's Garden of Natural Perfume Launches First-Ever Handmade Recycled Paper Perfume Boxes Embedded With Wildflower Seeds - Flowers for You!

Anya's Garden Packages with Handmade Boxes Created from Sustainable Nepalese "Daphne" Plant and Recycled USA Fibers mixed with USA Wildflower Seeds

*plant and grow a wildflower garden with the box!*

~~~ 15% off everything in Anya's Garden to Celebrate -
click here for the sale ~~~ enter the word garden for the discount ~~~

photo of Fairchild box taken in Anya's Garden Aug. 14, 2008, nestled in the branches of a flowering Aglaia odorata tree

As a natural perfumer, I searched for years for an ecological, sustainable way to package my fragrances. I wanted to source boxes here in the US to keep the carbon footprint as small as possible, and I wanted the fiber for the boxes to be from a sustainable, renewable source. The fiber source is not from the USA, but I am very happy that the harvest supports wildcrafters in Nepal. The Lokta plant is a relative of the Daphne bush, and it's bark must be harvested to insure the plant survives. No fertilizers or sprays are used on these wild-growing bushes.

The Lokta is mixed with recycled paper from here in the USA at 50%, and wildflower seeds are blended in and then handmade into boxes. I love the soft, fibrous nature of the paper, which you can see if you click on the image for an enlarged view. The paper box is acid-free and simple to turn into a wildflower mini-garden: just flatten it, put it in a pot or in the ground, cover with 1/2" of soil and water. Sun or partial sun for a good part of the day is necessary. Don't have much sun in your apartment? Give the box to a friend - or even better, a child - and let them grow the wildflowers.

Both the 3.5ml mini perfumes and the 15ml spray Eau de Parfums will be packaged in these "ecologically-green" boxes. Inside, stiff art paper made from recycled paper will nestle the bottles. The labels are printed on recycled paper.

In the future I intend to have boxes custom made with basil, sweet alyssum seeds or a blend of my own design. This is very exciting, and I feel that the brand is complete - a true green garden theme and product - everything, as much as possible, "from the garden."

To celebrate Anya's Garden launching the first-ever recycled, plantable wildflower boxes for perfume bottles, there is a 15% discount offered through the end of August. Just visit the perfume boutique at Anya's Garden and when checking out with your purchase, enter the word garden as the voucher code.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Perfumer's life can get so busy - with so much great stuff going on!

A perfumer can sometimes dream - or daydream - of little dots/drops - and the dance of the aromatic molecules. Sometimes, if you're lucky, those drops coalesce into a perfume - a cornucopia of rewards of scent, time and place. They can be imagined as people moving together like the fractal cornucopia, all a different color with a unique beauty, all synchronized to help form a beautiful image.

First off - to catch up: I haven't blogged for a few weeks because I've been so busy and caught up in great things. First, I got the perfect boxes and packaging for my perfumes. Finally. It's only been two years, lol. The company will make custom boxes for me in the future, but the regular ones are wonderful in the time being. I'll launch them in the next day or two. One of my webmasters (I have two!) turned out to be a graphic artist of sorts and got my labels fixed. Yay!

Then the new Guild site launched last Friday 8.8.08, and the feedback is fantastic! The Guild members are all fired up (more about that, below) and the response from them and the general public is very lovely to receive. Don't miss the Galleries - you can jump on from the Member's List page or here - because I think eventually the entire Members List will be in the form of galleries.

I also offered an apology to someone who was "done wrong" by the plotting of someone else, unearthed after a year. Hopefully, the recipient will know the apology was from the heart and be able to move beyond the incident. I will always own up to a mistake, it's in my nature, and this was very, very important. I will also keep my eyes wide open in the future to avoid such Machiavellian shenanigans! I felt very humble and also very good reaching out to this person, so I hope it all works out well in the end.

I have been remiss in getting out updates on my online natural perfumery course, and/or advertising it. I'll post more about it in the next week - very exciting because we'll have the first mother/daughter team enrolled for the Fall 2008 course! I think that's it's enchanting that they'll be learning together.

So, on Monday I thought I'd perhaps have a breather or two - but oh, no, I went and casually posted in the private Yahoo group for the Guild members that several had suggested Guild logos on hats and t-shirts. I've looked into having scent strip holders made, but I don't like any of the stuff I've sourced. Well, the email got an avalanche of posts in the Guild group, which is normally pretty quiet. I think there were 90 posts in three days. Here's what I cross-posted to them and the big natural perfumery group I host on Yahoo (almost 1600 members in this very, very active group!)
Well, the private Yahoo group for Guild members has exploded with
chatter - did they catch the talk virus from here? ;-) I think it's just
something bubbling under the surface of connections, critical mass in
ideas and just a general good feeling about what's going on in our
world. (Maybe the launch of the new Guild website helped and the other galleries are
particularly fetching, IMO)

Anyway, I casually mentioned the other day that several folks had asked
me about Guild merchandise - cups, hats, t-shirts, etc. Whoa! A torrent
of ideas, opinions (what types of shirts for men and women, who wants
baseball caps, who hates them, etc.) came forth. I'm trying to sort
through it all and set up an online shop. Several Guild members
generously stepped up to volunteer to help me since I wrote (insert
plaintive wail here,lol) "So when do I find time to clone myself to do
all this? ;-)"

So it looks like Guild Goodies (I'm thinking of calling the shop that)
will launch this Fall - After I finish the new packaging for my
perfumes, finish four perfumes, finalize all the details for the Fall
2008 online perfumer course I teach, etc. I put Beth off in the filming
project until late Fall, and now I have to figure how to juggle all this!

Claire found a great French fabrication company for ceramic and other
fine art goodies. Looks like the Guild is taking off due to the interest
and excitement of the members, and I'll play catchup asap - just
laughing because I thought a hat or t-shirt would satisfy them. Oh,
here's one wish list:

ties, scarves, hats w/ different styles ~even baseball
styles~ you never know (I'd love one!) mugs, stamps, address labels, tees of a
variety of styles, and with the upcoming months sweatshirts. I'll add notepads. Scent strip holders a given.

Oh, Adam had specs on the ties - silk, of course, a certain width, and others demanded tunic-length t-shirts. Mercy. ;-) I think he wanted fedoras, the women pushing for big brimmed sun-protection hats.

I think there's more, but with 90 posts in a few days, I need to reread some of the suggestions. Whew!

I'm just in awe of how the community has grown. We've had some brickbats tossed at us, some folks have tried to steal our membership, others predicted that NP was just a fad. They are so wrong - we're growing and more dynamic with each passing day. Now, where's that cloning laboratory? ;-)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

About That Clean, Fresh Scent

What Madison Avenue Touts to the Detriment of Health - from Cigarettes to Plug-In Air "Fresheners" et al

Just a quick follow up to the previous blog on chemical sensitivities causing problems for perfumistas. This appeared a few days ago in the Washington Post.

A brief quote from the article:

"Collectively, the six products gave off nearly 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including acetone, the eye-stinging ingredient in nail-polish remover and paint thinner. (VOCs are compounds that vaporize easily, like fumes from paint and gasoline. Many VOCs are known to be harmful.)"

It's very clear to me, and has been very clear for a long time that we are in a state of sensory overload due to savvy Madison Avenue brainwashing. My prediction? In a few years the fragrance fumes of the grocery aisles, the plug-in "air fresheners", the scented candles will all be as rare as cigarette smokers, smoke-filled restaurants and offices and will be viewed as harmful.