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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Perfume Seems to be Doing some Perfumistas In - Bloggers Report on Having to Stop Wearing Perfume

Synchronicity has struck. In one day I stumbled upon three perfume bloggers who have written how they have either had to stop using perfume altogether, or at least drastically cut back on their use of perfume. I was idly searching back through the Urban Farmer blog and found this post, dramatically titled The End of Scent. When I read the comments, I noticed that Heather of Memory and Desire discussed her problems with scent and having to stop using fragrance entirely. I was wondering why she hadn't blogged since May - now I know.

With Heather, it's headaches, for Lou, well, she had a litany of problems. Savvy, they cut back on scent usage. It's tearing their souls up, but their bodies are healing.

It's been barely three years since the birth of perfume blogs. I'm wondering if we're now seeing the "canary in the coal mine" syndrome starting to surface. Often I have read on forums snarky comments from perfumistas about those who complain about strong perfume. There are two sides to every coin: perhaps the perfumista with a snark doesn't have sensitivities caused by overexposure to strong scent, and the complainer does. There are few biological certainties, generalities, yes, but few certainties. I'm reminded of when I used to frequent a beauty and fashion forum and we'd all lemming a new face cream or cleanser and every time - every time - I'd have an adverse reaction. Others would write that they have cast-iron skin and nothing bothered them. It's all in the genetics and the amount of exposure, I guess.

Strong perfumes and perfumes containing lots of modern synthetic aromachemicals - they're probably the culprit. Anyone who spritzes on a lot of them will probably wind up - if they're predisposed - to a sensitization as described by Lou and Heather. I base this generalization on the fact that laws have been enacted in the past two decades banning fragrance, lawsuits filed to force people to stop wearing scent, etc., and that, at least to me, coincides with the rise in use of synth aromachemicals and the overuse of fragrance in household items. Strong scents and scent everywhere.

I was mulling all this, and posted to Heather privately about a similar situation for me - with natural aromatics! - following 9/11, and and a few hours later another blog popped up on my screen with the same sad lament: a perfume blogger is suffering from chemical sensitization.

I pay attention. I notice threads and whispers and signs - three in one day - Wow. Yes, with a capital "W".

The blogger at Scent Signals has a good take on the problem, and a good approach on how to get her fragrance fix in a softer, quieter way.

Before anybody thinks I'm slamming synth perfumes, know that I live my life practically unexposed to them. Yes, in the past, I have held my breath in an elevator, or developed a sore scratchy throat and nasal irritation from them. Now, somehow I manage to avoid places with lots of folks who wear them - Sniffapalooza would not be my choice of a good time, although I can appreciate the wit, appreciation and passion those who do attend share. I'm not against synth perfumes intellectually - they just really assault my respiratory system.

As I mentioned before, I had my own sensitization period and blogged about it briefly here, and wrote about it extensively in the past on my Yahoo group on Natural Perfumery.

I never get colds or the flu. I must have a cast iron immune system, the inner equivalent of those ladies on the fashion forum's skin. Still, pesky irritating mango pollen caused me annual bouts with a stuffed head and runny nose. After the account referenced on my blog, and a course of liver support herbs accompanied by "safe sniffing" practices, I have never even had the mango pollen annual head case return! Yes, a "!" for emphasis. Quite amazing. In my online perfumery class, I emphasize safe sniffing also, and two students who didn't listen, one in the UK and one in AU (who had a predisposition) are suffering nose burn out.

Love perfume? Protect yourself. Cut down, for goodness sake. Maybe alternate with some gentler fragrance options, like yummy rose or neroli hydrosol. Spritzed in the hair or on clothes, they are moderately long-lasting. Dilute essential oils and attars, discover softer, gentler natural perfumes that are kind to your nose and your neighbors.

The synchronatic reading materials today are the kind of things I pay attention to and just sit back and watch develop further. Heck, I know enough aromatherapists, raw material suppliers and perfumers who have these problems. They overdose on naturals, sniffing out of the bottle, diffusing essential oils into the room constantly.

Everybody just needs to slow down, take some liver support herbs - I'm not a doctor, so I should just suggest that, since it worked for me - and stop being scent gluttons. We're overdosing, we're damaging our ability to use and enjoy the lovely perfumes and essences, and it's about time we woke up and took care of ourselves.

I live a surprisingly scent-free life. I use unscented soap for my laundry and dishes. I occasionally use some lightly-scented shower products from members of the Natural Perfumers Guild, and I never burn incense. I just received some fabulous incense from a Guild member, and I sniffed it appreciatively, but I know smoke molecules are very, very bad for me, so it won't be burned. Occasionally, maybe once a month, I'll diffuse some light scent into the air. I save my scent pleasures for the perfume-formulating table and evaluating raw materials. I wear perfume maybe twice a week. I play with scent memory constantly. I live the scent in my head and enjoy it. Memories of Mandy Aftel's Pink Lotus or Worth's Je Reviens? They're there, to be drawn up in an instant. If I get really moved, I may open a bottle and apply a tiny bit.

My life is a rich, full tapestry of scent. Scent occupies almost every waking hour - but it's often unsniffed. I know this sounds strange, but it's lovely, fulfilling and I'm totally satisfied.

It would be a shame if the explosion of interest and conversation about raw materials, perfumes and the scented life would be the extinction of the ability of some of the passionate people's ability to enjoy their muse and their calling. With this in mind, I ask you to reconsider your usage of scent, I ask you to get a little more conservative and I ask you to protect yourself so that you may live out the rest of your life with the ability to keep on enjoying scent, responsibly.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sign the Petition - Fight the Planned Destruction of Small Cosmetics Companies by Global Harmonization

You don't have to be Einstein to recognize the disastrous effect this unfair corporate-sponsored Act will have on the small independent business owners who make cosmetics, perfumes and other body care products.


Today I took part in a meeting of a Coalition of small business owners/organization leaders who are very concerned about the proposed FDA Global Harmonization Act of 2008 here in the USA. We are pooling our membership rolls into building a groundswell of grassroots efforts to give us strength in numbers as we work towards stopping the FDA. The most articulate message I have seen so far on this subject is by the President of the Indie Beauty Network, Donna Maria Coles Johnson, and I urge you to visit her blog and view the video she prepared on this.

Then, PLEASE sign the petition on that site, and don't forget to use your full name and city and state.

The short story? This GHA will effectively put many of the small perfumery, body care and associated cosmetics companies out of business because of a Draconian $2000-$12,000 fee they are planning to levy for "registration." It is obviously a ploy by the big-name corporate "natural" body care industry folks to destroy the hand-made artisan businesses that take a chunk of their business away. Many of them forget they started out as we did, small businesses. We need to reach out to our legislators, the media and even our neighbors and customers to let them know about this unjust fee that will wipe out a majority of body care/cosmetics businesses.

The shutting down of our businesses will have a ripple effect in this economy that will be more disastrous than anything ever before that threatened us.

Again, please sign the petition and bookmark this blog and the Indie Beauty blog for updates. We are planning a lot of activities and pro-active actions in the next year, and your support is needed.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pre-Registration for Fall 2008 Online Natural Perfumery Course

Anya's Online Basic Natural Perfumery Course - Registration Beginning

Currently there are 40+ students enrolled in the Fall 2007 and Spring 2008 course. Read some of the testimonials from them, below. More available upon request.

Whether you want to study perfumery for fun or with the goal of becoming a professional perfumer, you'll enjoy and establish a firm foundation in perfumery basics by taking this course.

Imagine - a full year of interactive, professional education from a teacher with thirty years experience working with natural essences!

Read on...

Your Tuition Helps Others!

$50 of every student's tuition is donated to a worldwide charity on Global Girlfriend. Donations so far have included providing goats to a Rwandan family, sending two girls to school in Afghanistan, and buying a cookstove for a refugee family in Darfur, providing vaccines for 10 animals in a shelter, Hurricane Katrina rebuilding assistance and much more.

The online interactive course has been a huge success for many reasons:

- 12 learning modules full of both traditional and innovative materials

- 16 recorded lectures that bring the modules alive, including a fun lecture on pronunciation of perfumery terms

- Dozens of downloadable venerable perfumery books, modern articles and related materials

- A Primer that outlines the materials covered so the beginning student gets a handle on the scope of topics

- Numerous charts and professional data recording forms unavailable elsewhere

- Intensive work on developing a Scent Memory ™ , the key to becoming a perfumer

- A kit of 25 exquisite aromatic essences to use during the course.

- Monthly - sometimes bi-weekly - "live chats" with the teacher

- A private Yahoo group for classmate interaction and teacher involvement

- A different guest professional from the perfumery industry joins a live chat every two months in a Q&A session to give the students a glimpse into the different facets of the business and art.

Tuition is only $1400 for all the benefits listed above. You can choose to place a deposit now to hold your place in class, pay the full tuition or make payment arrangements. Tuition is non-refundable.

The students have given me feedback that they find the way I teach the course warm and supportive and they even like my East Coast accent in the lectures! In the next week, I'm going to post some excerpts from the lectures and also share a glimpse inside the learning environment that the students enjoy.

Note: several students were unable to keep up the course due to illness, business or personal matters - even a hard drive crash. They expressed appreciation when I wrote all the students announcing they can stay in the course for an extra year, reading all the archived chats and correspondence. It was quite a relief for them, and made me feel that the decision to conduct this class online in the manner selected was the right thing to do.

Student Testimonials:

"As a member of the inaugural online Natural Perfumery Class offered by Anya I have had the great pleasure of being part of a tremendous learning process in a growing field.

Anya is a gifted teacher who has obviously given much thought to the structure and method of teaching this class. She cares about the students and is receptive to their needs. She has also made an obvious effort to include everyone in the educational process.

We are all benefiting from her great store of knowledge and her ability to impart that in a thoughtful and meaningful manner. Anya takes you through the perfuming process thoroughly from learning the scents of the oils in the kit through how they blend together to, finally, making a perfume. By the time you get to the perfume making you have an excellent grounding in both theory and practice. I highly recommend the class!"

Elise Pearlstine, USA, PhD Ecologist, Certified Aromatherapist and Perfumer at Tambela

"The knowledge level of the class before the start goes from blistering beginner, (ME, good at herbs, and somewhat knowledgeable in aromatherapy, bloody lacking at perfume) to folks who have been doing some significant perfume blending, but who wanted to advance their practice. Those bonds I believe will serve me well, and have been my pleasure, hopefully to continue for years as we all advance from NEWBIE status.

I think I can say with some confidence, even after the class, I could go to Anya, and ask her advice on a perfume subject, she would give it willingly, that's just her to the core. I can honestly say, I have already gotten my monies worth out of the class, and we're just beginning month 5. The class is very forgiving of life getting in the way, if you get behind, there is wiggle room to catch up, which , for a single working mom is also nice. "

Lynn Weaver, USA, Registered Nurse, Natural Skin Care at Gentry Scents

"I had no idea what to expect when I signed up! I am passionate about natural perfumery and have lurked on Anya's Yahoo group for years. I knew it would be a great experience because of her participation on Yahoo, so I plunged in.

From the first day, I was impressed by Anya's logical progression teaching us "Scent Memory" as she calls it, and her teaching aids, like the recording forms, Key, and various charts are the bomb!

When I had a family emergency, Anya was compassionate and worked with my schedule. I have learned so much and feel so safe and secure with this class I can't put it into words. I found the best teacher in the World!

Heather Light, UK, newbie in perfumery

Click here to Register now - secure you place in the most dynamic, interactive one-year online class in perfumery! Click here to register.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Interview with Anya McCoy on Perfume Critic

The interview was conducted a few months ago, and Part 1 appeared soon after. The current intstallment is Part 2, and I must say that Marlen, an old Internet buddy who went on to found Perfume Critic really made me feel welcome and opened me up conversationally during the interview. His questions were those only someone who has known somebody for a long time could ask :-) You can find Part 1 here ad Part 2 here. If you leave a comment, you may win a generous sample of my Temple perfume.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Anya's Garden is Giving Goats - and Grants

Earlier today my assistant Giselle blogged on the Natural Perfumers Guild blog about a microgrant program that is being started to provide assistance to growers and distillers of botanical aromatics worldwide. The Guild will help those involved in our industry, while I have chosen to "pay it forward" to a wider variety of folks.

I've donated a percentage of my income from Anya's Garden to the Red Cross and other rescue agencies since the garden began. Living in Miami, my heart goes out to those in need because of natural disasters. We've been slammed so many times down here I've lost count, and organizations like the Red Cross always come through. Now as my business picks up, I have the need to give more. I'm fortunate and blessed, and grateful, and when I lay my head down at night I want to feel I've made the world a better place - and I'll be you do, too, so maybe you'll follow my lead on this.

Let's face it - perfume is a luxury, and natural perfume even more of a luxury. The art of it satisfies my soul, and I have a decent income from sales, teaching and consulting to the industry. So today I started to share more of the monies I make from Anya's Garden with people and causes near and dear to my heart. The world is full of those for whom a roof over their head, daily food, medical supplies or schooling are a luxury. Day-to-day life is a struggle, and we need to step up and help.

First stop - Global Girlfriend (part of GreaterGood/Hunger Site) and imagine my smile and good vibes as I helped a Rwandan family receive two goats - although goat hair tincture was not listed as one of the products they obtain from the goats ;-) On this site you'll find any number of charitable choices - I also donated to help send two Afghani girls to school and purchase a stove for Darfur refugees.

My first donation was made in honor of Mother Cedella Marley Booker, who passed this past April. She traveled to Rwanda in the past and helping the people of that country was near and dear to her heart. Rest in peace, Mother B.

For the upcoming crop of students for my natural perfumery class - $50 of each tuition payment will be donated to a charity. I will make a lump sum donation and try to leverage it with a matching grant.

I encourage all natural perfumers, associates and suppliers - we who for the most part live in a safe part of the world, we who don't have to worry about where our next meal is coming from - to consider upping your charitable contributions. There is a worldwide food crisis, a fuel shortage (which greatly affects those in the Third World) and other problems - and every little bit helps. Open your hearts and help, please. It will do you and the recipient a world of good.

Next goal: solar cooking ovens for Haiti

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The perfume of Aglaia odorata in the garden - more Independence Day for perfumers

I adore neroli, but the neroli that is what we call the essential oil distilled from the blossoms of Citrus aurantium does not compare to the scent of those blossoms in the garden. I first created a natural tincture/absolute of those blossoms about 30 years ago at the University of California, Riverside, armed only with a bucket of vodka. ;-) Into the vodka went the blossoms where they were left to tincture for a day, and then the vodka was recharged with more blossoms three or four times. The resulting extraction was true to the blossoms' scent, and cherished by me for several years as I used it to make perfumes.

Aglaia flower is often called Chinese lemon tree or Chinese perfume tree among other names. The scent of the blooms in the garden, again, like the neroli, is quite different from the concrete or absolute we perfumers purchase. While glorious, fruity, floral, with a touch of tea, the commercial extract is missing the beautiful soft, uplifting nuances of the flower. The flower amazes all who see it: tinier than a lentil, the little panicles of bright yellow round flowers radiate their perfume for about 20 feet.

The dainty, floral, sweet scent is so very tender and lovely, it haunted me that I could not put my finger on the exact scent it reminded me of until I sniffed a lemon the other day. I'll admit, I hadn't just taken a lemon in hand and held it to my nose and sniffed it for some time. That was it - the exact scent of the aglaia flower. Not the lemon rind oil we use in perfumery - that is the peel once it has been crushed. The unbroken lemon has a quality of roundness and soft sweetness that disappears once the rind is pierced (as I pierced it with my fingernail for a comparison right on the spot) and that mystery solved, I can only say how fortunate and grateful I am that I have a small aglaia.

The tree has been blooming almost continually since last fall, and I have a lovely stock of the tinctured extract. I just harvest the little yellow flowers and they're in alcohol in less than 10 minutes. The difference from the commercial concrete/absolute is much more than the difference between the neroli flower tincture and neroli essential oil, so I'm glad to have this homemade artisan product. Priceless!

A note about the sometimes repeated description that the commercial extract is made "from the comminuted (crushed) seeds." Aglaia doesn't set many seeds, according to many botany sources I've checked. And tell me - how in the heck could - or would anybody be able to peel that tiny flower to get at them - I can't find a closeup photo of the flower right now, but it's a tightly-enclosed tiny, tiny ball. I was generous when I described it as the size of a lentil earlier. They must just place the entire flower into the solvent, in my opinion, there's just no truth to the crushed-seed source. The manpower, and the destructive act of what? Dumping those tiny, pretty little flowers onto some kind of roller to smash them? What a waste of energy and what destruction of a lovely, delicate scent.

Then again - I may be wrong if it is not the bright yellow petals that have the scent, but instead, the tiny seeds inside. I cannot find reference to the source of the scent in the plant. I certainly have not crushed the flowers to obtain my beautiful tincture/absolute. I have cut open many of the tiny little flowers with my fingernail and not found a seed, but I don't have a microscope to really look closely. Unless I meet someone who has been there when the flowers are processed, I will have to question the crushed seed comment.

Back to just enjoying the scent and sight of the aglaia - I also am amused that the flowers look like little lemons - in fact their color could be deemed "lemon yellow." What a funny little joke by Mother Nature - and it took me absentmindedly sniffing an unpeeled lemon to get that joke!

Grow your own, you'll be a better perfumer for it.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day as part of a business plan - Protecting Perfume at the Source

Jasmine sambac "Grand Duke of Tuscany" from my garden

As an artisan who grows much of her botanical aromatics, I made a conscious decision not to rely on the vagaries of the open market for many of my supplies. Of course, I have to buy concretes, absolutes and essential oils - but not that much anymore. I have a huge stash of stuff I've stocked over the years, all properly stored to preserve freshness. I am increasingly aware of the fragile nature of the supply chain, and I hope you, artisan natural perfumer, if you're reading this, are too. Heck, if I were a perfumer who used synths in my perfumes, I'd be quaking in my business boots. Even worse if I used bases from major supply houses. You're completely at their mercy.

That stranglehold on supply, as more and more smaller supply houses are gobbled up in the EU-fueled stranglehold on the supply of processed aromatics - combined with the weak US dollar, typhoons that destroy crops, adulteration, and the wariness someone must have when sourcing "organic", I've made a big increase in my efforts to "grow my own."

For years now, I've been making organic tinctures and infusions of fragrant flowers, leaves, citrus rinds and other plant parts from Anya's Garden.

Yes, my garden is a real place, not just a name for a company. I have been an organic gardener my entire life, and even wrote for Organic Gardening magazine back in the 90's. I've also studied and practiced herbalism for years, so when I got seriously into the perfume business it was second nature for me to harvest the plants in my garden.

I have tinctures of jasmine grandiflorum, six different kinds of jasmine sambac, thai lime leaves, michelia alba flowers and leaves, aglalia flowers, murraya paniculata and murraya koeniggi (orange flower scented, and curry leaf scented, respectively), himalayan savory (smells like the most delicious peppermint), oak leaves, roots and twigs, cardamom leaves, galangal root and leaves, pittosporum flowers, jasmine auriculatum, jasmine azoricum, dracena fragrans, night blooming jasmine, roses, tahitian gardenia, vietnamese gardenia, rosemary, clereodendron, brunfelsia lactea, true lavender, fragipanis, both peach scented and floral - that's just what I remember off the top of my head. They're all safe and secure in a cabinet, tucked in with soil tinctures, orris root tinctures, elemi resin tinctures, ginger root tinctures, mushrooms, various teas, coffees and scented spice seeds like clove, cardamom, nutmeg - you get the idea. All organic, all luscious, heady and homemade. And I have a liter of Lavender Seville and one of Atlas Cedar because I know I'll never be able to grow them here. They're irreplaceable, along with several other aromatics I have stockpiled.

I have a chunk of ambergris that'll last forever once I start tincturing it up - I already have a quart of aged ambergris tincture. Ancient castoreum tincture that was gifted to me joins the animal scents, including hyrax, goat hair and soon to be joined by sheep wool tincture.

This past week I added lots more with a big purchase from a nursery - osmanthus, ginger lily (flower), almond scented aloysia, chocolate scented cestrum diurnum, night blooming cactus and ylang ylang. More will be added this summer, including sweet alyssum and amyris.

White ginger lily - intoxicating scent

We're all about the artisan, about having our hands in the soil and then transforming the harvest into gorgeous tinctures and ultimately perfumes and now is the time to seriously try to augment and protect our business supplies by growing our own. If I lived up north, I'd be into tincturing lilacs, fir balsam, mock orange and the variety of plants that can be grown there.

I sleep better at night knowing I have a huge patchouli bush, seashells nearby for toasting and extracting, beeswax from friends and fragrant hay to grind and tincture.

Citrus - there's no substitute

Why not? I don't bury my head in the sand and bemoan when something skyrockets out of sight price-wise or gets wiped out by a monsoon - that's the nature of a botanical-based business.

I even have a theory of how to fight the FDA/Global Harmonization threat I've been writing about for 18 months that now has finally caught the attention of others in the handmade toiletries business, but that's for another blog. I'll be brainstorming this weekend with someone who heads a large trade group and we'll spider out from there, gathering forces to protect our Independence and our businesses.

Tropical languor and spiciness at it's best - golden Champaka

It's all about the Independence - it's the new rallying slogan for me and I hope it catches on with others - or we may find our supplies and our businesses ripped out from under us, and I just refuse to let that happen, creative, adaptable artisan that I fancy myself to be.

Osmanthus flowers - apricot, tea and leather scent

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Getting Your Goat - Perfume Musk that is Fragrance without Guilt

Back in 2006, I revealed that I was using a
new form of animal musk scent in my perfumes, one that was tinctured from the hair of a rutting billy goat. The adorable goat, Frontrunner, donated some of the hair from the area where his scent glands are located, which is the top of his head. Tinctured in organic alcohol, the reminiscent-of-goat-cheese scent quickly gave up its muskiness and later debuted in my Pan perfume which was created in honor of the Goat God Pan.

Roundly mocked by some for this bold step, I have to smile now, after hearing they're all picking up on the goat hair, evaluating different tinctures as if they were fine wine. I don't get that carried away - this stuff really stinks, and it is the skill of the perfumer in figuring how to blend it that I believe has made Pan perfume such a runaway hit. Words like warm, sexy, pheromonic, and "I had a crowd gather around me, and they obviously loved the perfume" or phrases to that effect were sent back to me. I cannot eat goat cheese, it makes me gag, and I could never wear a perfume with a noticeable goat cheese scent, but Pan is all herbal and has a touch of fruit from a special lavender, and they hay makes you just feel all cozy.....and the sensual trip is on - just what I wanted to achieve.

I've also tinctured the hair from the back haunches of rutting billy boats - Harry and Mike - and they're also being used in Pan now - imperceptible to the nose, but more of a hit than ever. This tincture smells more like true musk deer musk. The gland of the musk deer is not used in perfumery anymore due to the cruel manner in which it is collected - the deer is often killed. There are Chinese farms that now extract the gland via laparoscopic surgery, but those musk grains are used in Chinese medicine, and tightly regulated.

Why the fascination with musky scents anyway? Salaam - Dominique Dubrana - a perfumer as much as a philosopher - often writes on how humans evolved on this planet with animals, and their warm, musky scents are built into our engrammes - our brain chemistry wiring - and we are subtly, inextricably pulled to that stranger across the room - by this animalic call that reaches our limbic brain faster than a wild mountain goat can scamper up a cliff.

The musk scent need not be perceptible in the perfume to be effective - that is the key. My Pan contains a minuscule amount of the tincture. An experienced hand knows when to be light.

FiveOaks, a lovely commentator on a perfume forum kindly said about my bold move:
"Very interesting about the goats and NJ's avant-garde use of goat hair. I have a feeling goats are coming into their own today. Around here there are lots of goat-milk soaps and cosmetic lines. Goat milk and its cheeses are very popular not only in specialty food stores but in mainstream supermarkets, and now they're making their way into perfumery. Goats may just be the answer to reintroducing non-violent animal notes into perfumes. Let's hear it for goats!"

David on the same forum gave a shout-out: You go, girl! :-) Thank you for your ingenious and humane innovations."

But maybe I wasn't so avant garde or ingenious - perhaps, with the prodding of Salaam - I merely found a subconscious link back to our fragrant history. From a blog on labdanum: The second method of harvest utilized the herds of goats that are so prevalent in this part of the world. "As the goats browsed on rockroses, the oil accumulated in their beards. Each year the long beards of the goats were cut and the oil extracted. For the pharaohs, the false beards glued to the chin were in fact these ladanum-rich goat beards which would surround the man with the desired scent. This is origin of the name for such facial hair, the goatee."

Who knew?!

We know they like much stronger scents back then, and the strong goat scent was welcome - not in my Pan, sorry! A bit too ripe, like an aged goat cheese, it would not be welcome at most public functions.

One thing that did worry me a bit after I spoke with a microbiologist was the fact that bacteria and fungi could live - perhaps - in 95-proof ethanol. I couldn't understand this, still don't actually, especially since supposedly they wouldn't thrive in 70-proof ethanol. So I had the tincture and Pan tested, and they were found to be microbiologically clean. Phew.

I mean, people drink raw goat milk and eat raw goat cheese all the time, and if there were a lot of episodes of microbial problems I suppose we would know about it - not that you could *ever* get me to eat or drink the stuff

But a little dab or spritz of Pan? Heavenly, soft, warm, sexy - and an ancient pheronomic light goes on inside, and the game is on. After all, isn't that what perfume is all about?