Showing posts from April, 2008

David Mark to Speak in Private Perfume Class on Ancient Egyptian incense Kyphi and its fragrance properties

David Mark of Renaissance Aromas (website TBA shortly) and an Associate Member of the Natural Perfumers Guild will be a Guest Expert in my online Natural Perfumery class . David's topic will be Kyphi incense, the ancient Egyptian blend whose mystique and legend persists to this day. There are many "recipes" for Kyphi and for the Module 1 History section of my class, I give the students the option of choosing an ancient perfume or scent formula to recreate so that they get a hint of what was fashionable then. Overwhelmingly, they choose Kyphi. David has conducted scholarly research into Kyphi and graciously offered his services to me. I'm very thankful for his generosity, as it will give my students access to a great repository of information. Here's how I broke the good news of David's schedule being firmed up in our class: Well, guess why David can't meet with us this Saturday? Because he's going to a fabulous Egyptologist convention in Seattle! How

Patchouli in Rwanda - perfume industry safety net? Economic safety net for Rwandans?

The price of patchouli essential oil has skyrocketed in the past year. An crucial and historic scent in perfume and body care products, various issues have conspired to create a shortage and suppliers and formulators are scrambling to control cost increases in their products. I know I'm an eternal optimist. I also have a strong background in ethnobotany, economic botany and agriculture. I specialized in tropical and subtropical agriculture in my studies, keep this in mind when you check out the You Tube link, below. In 2005, a team from Haiti met with the President of Rwanda to propose a Patchouli project. There is a series of five videos on You Tube recording the process of establishing a patchouli essential oil industry in Rwanda by the movers and shakers of this project. The videos are educational and uplifting. I am very aware of he political and military turmoils of Rwanda, having several close friends who traveled there in the aftermath and are helping with the rebuilding. Re

Bob Marley's Mother, Cedella has passed

This photo was taken at the press party for the 10th Annual Bob Marley Caribbean Music Festival. It was the last year I worked as the PR person for the event, as perfumery business took more and more of my time. You can read more about Mother B here on Myspace I wish I knew how to work Myspace to leave a message, but I don't so I'll write here. Mother B was like a second mother to me and probably thousands of others. She spread her joy and wisdom and kindness to every soul she met, and she will be sorely missed. As I call friends today to tell them the news, and even as I told my own mother, I choked up and couldn't speak. I put a page up 10 years ago that hosts a photo I took of Mother B the night I met her in 1996. It remains one of my favorite photos of her, regal on her birthday throne, radiating her love out. Peace and joy and rest Mother B, now you are in Zion with Bob and Anthony.

I love lavender - and new study says you should, too

One of my earliest scent memories is the fresh, uplifting scent of lavender soap. I know I liberally splashed on Yardley English Lavender cologne from about age 10 or so, when I got my first bottle. Always floral, herbal and clean, it's always has made me smile. It's one of the few "unisex" scents meaning men and women use it with no thought associations that it is more relevant to the opposite sex. For example, many men may balk at wearing a rose scent, but not lavender. I have about 20 different extracts of lavender in my perfumer's organ: organic essential oils from South Africa, England and the United States; conventioanlly farmed essential oils from all over the world; high altitude from the French Alps; absolutes and concretes from several different countries and several different species other than the most common one I'm discussing here, which is Lavandula vera aka L. angustifolia. I dilute them out to evaluate them, and I find one emotional thread run

Defining the word Natural

I recently attended an online webinar that addressed natural flavors and fragrances and one of the topics discussed was " developing realistic definitions of what is, and is not, natural ." First, as a lead-in they talked about the various ins and outs of the word "organic", how it is defined and the legislation that governs that word. The various agencies that have a piece the action as far as defining "organic" is large, varied, international, and (typically) non-binding. I'm deliberately vague because that definition is a related, but different subject from what I wish to cover here. The term organic seems rather fluid at times to me, and to write about it would keep me blogging for days, so I will pass on that effort. The word natural in the flavor and fragrance industries is unregulated at this time. That means that any company, for any reason, can label a product natural in an effort to market to the yoga moms and other marketing demographic that