Showing posts from November, 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, StarFlo

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 "s

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 throug

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.

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

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

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 per

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.

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 .

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

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 worldwid

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

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. Veti