Thursday, May 28, 2009

Now Smell This Hosts Giveaway and Announcement of Launch of Kaffir in Cologne strength

About a year and a half ago, Kevin of the Now Smell This blog reviewed my Kaffir perfume and stated he wished it was available in cologne strength for summer. Cost also figured in, and a hope for a bigger bottle. Well, I didn't make it last summer, but I have small 15ml spray cologne offerings of the zesty and leathery/woody Kaffir ready for this summer. (Yes, a perfume can open zesty and get all leathery and sexy and woody!)

I wrote Robin, the head honcho of NST and offered her the exclusive release of Kaffir and a bottle to be awarded to a US or Canadian winner of a random draw. There were so many quick responses, and so many disappointed late entrants, I promptly offered two more bottles. As soon as I get the winner's addresses, the bottles will be in the mail, resplendent in their unique recycled boxes - that will grow wildflowers if planted!

Its just a way to give back to the community, to thank Kevin for planting the idea of a cologne, and for Robin for being such a pioneer and great egg in the blogging community.

Kaffir is perfect for summer, and I hope everyone enjoys it - and the affordable price of $35 for the 15mls.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Reminder: Natural Perfumers Guild Supplier Allured Business Media Offers 30% off all books Through June 30, 2009

30% discount off any book published by Allured Books through June 30th!

Natural Perfumers Guild member Allured Books - 30% off books

Once again Allured
Books, a division of Allured Business Media, has come through with a great discount offer on books! Allured is one of the top publishing houses in the world for fragrance and cosmetics books.

If one of their gems is on your wish list, now is the time to take advantage of this offer and save! Just enter Anya30 as the coupon code when checking out to receive the 30% off the price of the book(s). If you have any questions on their books or ordering online, you can contact them at, subject line- Anya30. Web site -

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Distillation Part One - Gemini New Moon Distillation - The Noble Bay Laurel in a Heart Magic distillation unit

Bay Leaf hydrosol flowing into the beaker

I recently had to cut down - with much sorrow - a huge bay leaf tree/bush that I planted about 10 years ago. Many meals have benefited from the organic leaves of the Laurus nobilis I harvested from that tree. Planted at the SE corner of my patio, it had to be removed for patio expansion. I saved the roots, trunk, limbs and leaves, and they are all going to be used, nothing wasted. The roots, trunk and twigs will be used when I barbeque, as their aromatic beauty will flavor everything on the grill with a complex, floral, yet earthy and woody fragrance and taste.

Now, I reasoned, was a great time to start distilling. Then with amazing clarity, the Universe confirmed my feeling. Within one week, a distiller I had known for years on the internet but not corresponded with in a year or two contacted me about joining the Guild with his newly-founded business, a Yahoo Natural Perfumery (YNP) group member joined the Guild and informed me he's making absolutes and tinctures of some of the rarest, best quality ambergris in the world (and is a distillation expert), and chat on the YNP group caused me to contact a fellow who makes hand-blown glass distillation units and he sent me one. Wow!

My student Elise Pearlstine of Tambela Belly Perfumes is my partner in the distillation process. Ironically, she was to meet with Ambergris Guy in Salt Lake City last year but they missed each other. She's going back in two weeks, and they'll meet up. Small world.

Elise and I assist each other with interpreting the instructions on the distillation unit(s) we have worked with in the two sessions we've held so far. The first, a few weeks ago, was with a unit loaned by Chris Ziegler of A Little Olfactory. We got the best-smelling bay leaf hydrosol, true to scent, floral, earthy, woody and fitting Suzanne Catty's descrition of well-made bay leaf hydrosol in her book Hydrosols.

Like many of you, I use bay leaf often in cooking. I have never used the essential oil of it in perfumery, although I purchased some back in the 70's. I used that for cooking, too. Our first distillation was done in the back garden, under the huge oak trees, near the fragrant plants - a very calm and peaceful setting.

However, it was a big comical, since I had to run inside the house every two minutes to get stuff we needed:
scissors, a twistee, more ice, etc., etc. Once the distillation started, we were enthralled, and spent a lot of time fiddling with the heat source, checking the connections, wearing eye protection and generally geeking out. Alchemy occurred, and we were the anxious witnesses. We got about 250mls of hydrosol, maybe a tiny film of oil.

Yesterday, under the energizing Gemini New Moon, we had a much more fruitful and less comical alchemical session. Everything was there, the HeartMagic unit went together rather well. We marveled at the beauty of the hand-blown glass, recognizing Gary Stadler really, really put together a beautiful unit. He has developed a unique receiver, with hydrosol coming out one spout, and the essential oil capture in the middle of the receiver, waiting for the person distilling to release it into a bottle.

You can see the meniscus where the bay leaf essential oil is floating on top of the hydrosol.

As per Gary's instructions, the hydrosol started to flow about thirty minutes after we turned on the heat source. The fragrance was beautiful and we enjoyed tasting the hydrosol at various intervals to check for the change - which evidenced itself as a slightly less spicy taste, which is when we stopped the distillation.

Following Gary's instructions, I let the unit cool down, and got some more hydrosol released from the glassworks, a total of 350mls. About a half ml of oil was produced. I'll be posting a lot more soon, I just wanted to share this with y'all, and share how the distillation urge is hitting so many folks right now - hopefully, you, too!

"Distillation is the act of the
invisible being made visible"
. . . Jeanne Rose 2001
from Jeanne Rose's website

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Natural Perfumers Guild Member Allured Publishing - Great Discounts on books 30% off through June 30th

Once again Allured has come through with a great discount offer on books! Allured is one of the top publishing house in the world for fragrance and cosmetics books, and if one of their gems is on your wish list, you may wish to take advantage of this offer. Just enter Anya30 as the voucher code when checking out to receive the 30% off the price of the book(s).

Saturday, May 09, 2009

New Members - The Natural Perfumers Guild Will Celebrate Beginning Its Fourth Year on June 1st with a Chance to Win the Arctander CD worth $900

The Natural Perfumers Guild Will Celebrate Beginning Its Fourth Year on June 1st
with a Chance to Win the Steffen Arctander CD worth $900 - New Members Only

From the Slow Scent Newsletter May 1, 2009 sent to Subscribers

The Natural Perfumers Guild will celebrate its Fourth anniversary on June 1, 2009 and Guild President Anya McCoy in asssociation with Allured Publishing Media announces that a CD of the three-volume set that includes Aroma Chemicals Vol. 1, Aroma Chemicals Vol. 2 and Natural Origins is being awarded in a random drawing for new members who join the Guild this month.

This valuable CD retails for $900, and it might be yours if you join the NPG between May 1 and June 1, 2009. If your completed application and membership fee is received between those dates, your name will
be entered into the giveaway for the CD.

This is a great opportunity to be in the running to obtain one of the most coveted research tools in perfumery. The legacy of Steffan Arctander is that he produced one of the best reference books (or, in this case, CDs) in the history of perfumery.

Read about this opportunity here: