Thursday, October 29, 2009

Second English Language Edmond Roudnitska Article Available - "Perfumery and Marketing"

Second Edmond Routnitska article available for download at Anya's Garden -
"Perfumery and Marketing"

Written in 1970, "Perfumery and Marketing" is the second in a series of six articles by Edmond Roudnitska that are being made available for the first time on the Internet. Michel Roudnitska, Edmond's son and a renowned perfumer in his own right, was kind enough to share them with me when I inquired about the availability of English language writings by his father.

The articles are available in PDF format, which requires Adobe Reader. Please feel free to spread the word about these treasures, because for so long those of us who only speak English, or have English as a second language, but not French as a first, have been unable to take in his wisdom.

I have scanned the articles to the best of my ability while still attempting to minimize their size for those with slow downloads. I have found that with the two articles so far that even though they are a big hazy to read on the computer screen, they print out beautifully.

The next article, which I will make available towards the end of next week will be very exciting for perfumery students. I did smile when I read it, since many of the studio conditions, family associations and other elements I teach are laid out by him decades before - and much more skillfully and beautifully written than my instructions, too. :-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Giveaway - 3.5ml pure perfume from Anya's Garden to a random pick of new newsletter subscribers

Here's a quick, fun giveaway - sign up for the Anya's Garden Perfumes newsletter between now and Sunday October 25, 2009 9PM EST USA and you'll be in the random drawing to receive a 3.5ml pure perfume from my line. If you are already a newsletter subscriber, I'll have a random giveaway next week for you folks, and I think a full set of perfume samples with my new labeling will be perfect!

Just go to to subscribe.

Please know I don't send many newsletters out, so you will have no worry there, and I often have newsletter-only offers and giveaways, so it's a great deal for you ;-)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Treasures to Share: English Language Works by Perfumer Edmond Roudnitska

Edmond Roudnitska
image courtesy Art et Parfum site

Many English-only-speaking perfumers have commented on various internet forums that they are frustrated by the fact that they cannot read the written works of famed French perfumer Edmond Roudnitska. His books, L'Intimit du Parfum and L'Esthtique en Question and L'Esthtique du Parfum, when they are available, are only in French. An essay in English was published in the 1974 book Perfume by William I. Kaufman, and that is where I first became acquainted with his writing, and I have reread that essay many, many times over the years.

A chapter from Perfumes: Art, Science and Technology edited by Lamparsky and Muller is available via Google books but I was very frustrated at only able to see a portion of a page at a time, so I gave up trying to read it. Reading off a screen really strains my eyes.

So I wrote to Edmond's son, Michel, a renowned perfumer in his own right, asking if he knew of any English language articles by his father, having heard of some Dragco Reports, and he promptly offered me what Dragco reports and other published works he had on hand. Michel has an interview with his father that appeared in English in the National Geographic in 1995 on his site Art et Parfum that is quite wonderful to read.

The works of the father and son are listed on Now Smell This.

The articles arrived today, six in total, and I am very excited by these treasures. Michel stipulated that they are to be shared, and I am working on scanning them and uploading them in PDF form for everyone.

One of them is the 48-page long chapter from Perfumes: Art, Science and Technology! This is going to take a lot of time, since I am handling the paper very carefully to preserve its quality. I have scanned just one so far, the earliest, from 1969. Reprinted from the S.P.C Year Book the title is "Where Are We Going?" You can find it on my website for downloading. It was good to start out with a short - four pages - because I am not very PDF-savvy, and I wish to find the most efficient, clear method for scanning them, and if anyone can assist me with technical advice, I would appreciate it.

In the meantime, please enjoy this forty-year-old article, previously unpublished, as far as I can tell, on the Internet, now available to everyone. Wonderful!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Temple Perfume Reviewed at Fragrantica "is strong and monumental, like a grandiose and centuries-old tree - a temple built by Nature."

This is the image I have used for Temple Perfume since its release

I haven't released new perfumes for over a year now. I believe each perfume should be a work of art, not just an exercise in fragrance creation. I create fragrances all the time, accords both vertical and horizontal, and I've not a notion to release them. Every perfume I release must have a definite purpose of expression and intent.

When I recently sent out my two latest perfumes, MoonDance and StarFlower, to media reviewers, I also sent samples of m previous creations to reviewers who were not familiar with my line.

Elena Knezhevich of Fragrantica fell in love with Temple and reviewed it today. Temple is the first, and so far, the only aromatherapy perfume I created. At the time, with hurricanes, wildfires, illnesses, wars, earthquakes and so many other shocks upon the human race seemingly coming at us at record speed, I wanted to draw upon my knowledge of specific scents that could calm and center a person, and Temple was the result.

At the time I wrote: "The rays of hope and focus empower and the steady verdant earth beneath the feet gives faith that the path may be sturdy and firm. Find strength in yourself, be your own Temple." *and* "Blended along both Ayurvedic and Buddhist systems, Temple is a limited-edition perfume that is specially made for all of the survivors of the many physical disasters that have wrecked communities in the USA. It is hoped it will give courage in the face of post-traumatic stress syndrome that affects the survivors - I know, because I, the perfumer, am one of them. "

Marlen Harrison of the Perfume Critic website, interviewed me some time back and we spoke about Temple perfume.

Today, in the Yahoo group I host for Natural Perfumery, Patti G, a longtime customer and a lover of Temple wrote:
Okay, I read the review, well put, but I don't know if this is good news for you or perhaps selfishly bad news for me, I was so well pleased when Anya wrote she had been able to acquire additional Aged precious oud, therefore able to continue to offer temple.  So, knowing that component is not so easily acquired, I'm not certain if I want Temple to be overly well known, therefore hard to acquire, or kept a fantastic secret.  Really Anya I continue to love this perfume, I have a little less than half a bottle remaining and that's only because I'm a bit stingy in using it.  I who am 55, still have sleepovers of girlfriends who I offer a dash of this to take to bed with them, now they just ask me if I forget.  It's a powerful sleep journey accompaniment."


Nothing to add - this just makes me so happy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What do you want? What you get - Gardenia is again available for perfumers.

All gardenias are not the same. Modern natural perfumery has a growing selection of raw materials from different species and varieties of gardenia to choose from, and we're all the better because of it.

This image typifies the gardenia perfume fragrance we all want: lush, sensual, wanton, spicy, buttery, floral, intoxicating, over-the-top and proud of it. The creamy, green, almost-obnoxious scent of the full-blown gardenia that is common in gardens, the cultivated Gardenia jasminoides aka Gardenia augusta:

Gardenia jasminoides aka Gardenia augusta

In the early-to-mid part of the 20th century, there were a few who produced gardenia absolute form the G. jasminoides/augusta. Story has it that the advent of World War II and the discovery of synthetic aromachemicals that mimicked the scent of gardenia put an end to the natural gardenia absolute.

In the early 21st century, with the rise of natural perfumery, the demand for a gardenia absolute arose again. I am enfleuraging gardenias, and have received a sample of some very pricey Gardenia tahitensis that is lovely, a true Tahitian gardenia fragrance, but not G. augusta/florida by any means. I have T. tahitensis and even T. vietnamensis growing in my garden, too, and am enfleuraging them. But there is a richness, a lactonic creaminess and diffusive greenness that is missing in them.

Tahitian Gardenia - G. tahitensis aka "Tiare" flower

I use a picture of an G. vietnamensis on every page of my website, it is to lovely and startling and iconic - a white flower that sings "look at me, smell me, I'm beautiful." Heck, isn't that the phrase that can easily describe why we all wear perfume? ;-)
Gardenia vietnamensis

I've made several gardenia accords that mimic the first image of gardenia, shown above, and they contain hints and bits of the many facets of gardenia: galbanum, sugar, wintergreen, butter, milk, jasmine, clove, sandalwood, osmanthus, tuberose, grape fruitiness and many more. These have been used in custom perfumes, since the cost and complexity doesn't lend itself to ready-made perfumes.

Using the alcohol-washed enfleurages of the Vietnamese flower adds the much-needed true gardenia base, but truly, nothing gives the "oomph" and grandeur of the natural gardenia flower in the garden, or the one brought inside to float in a bowl of water. It's iconic, powerful and not easy to imitate.

I suppose I could look up the GCMS analyses of gardenias that I have, but chemistry is not my thing. I'm an artistic creator who sniffs and adds a bit of this a dab of that, and I'm sure many more chemistry-savvy folks have tried to use the GCMS route but I don't know of any who succeeded, so I'm happy in my endeavors, knowing that I have satisfied several clients who were very discriminating and educated about naturals and accepting of the exacting doppelgangers I created.

Now there are gardenia concretes and absolutes out of China, where they have, in timely and enterprising response to worldwide demand for a real gardenia raw material, started to produce them.

My understanding is that they're using a rather simple cultivar of Gardenia jasminoides, the 5-petaled species that is found in many northern climates of the world. The product is quite lovely, and much like the tahetientis, and my attempts, lacking in the true lushness and complexity of the multi-petaled varieties that we humans have selected out over the centuries to satisfy our cravings for uber gardenias, those that knock us out with their power and overwhelming scent. Below is a picture of the type of gardenia the Chinese are using, and pretty as it is, you can see that is is a sweet, pale version of the blockbuster we know and love.

Gardenia jasminoides type the Chinese are using for their extractions

The Chinese gardenia concrete and absolute are much more affordable than the Tahitian - about 1/6th the price. I have diluted my concrete and absolute and am playing with them now, adding some of my own enfleurage materials, using some of the bouquetting notes mentioned above to round out and give more depth and richness to them. We can only hope that this new type of entrepreneurship as shown by the Tahitians and the Chinese continues to grow and provide us with greater and more dynamic gardenia essences.

This is not to say that the Tahitian and Chinese and individual enterprises, such as my own are not without merit: there is no law that says only the boombastic gardenia we know in our gardens and as corsages and floating room fragrances are the only gardenias. The beauty of Tahitian and the simple Chinese gardenias is outstanding on its own, and both deserve a place in perfumery.

I received samples of the Chinese gardenia concrete from both the supplier and also from a retail supplier who is a member of the Natural Perfumers Guild, Essentially Me in the UK. The Tahitian gardenia absolute was a gift from a UK-based natural perfumer. I encourage anyone who is a natural botanical perfumer to keep up with the newest developments and perhaps in a year or two we'll see very lovely gardenia perfumes offered to the public. Perhaps in a time frame longer than a year or two we'll see the revival of the truly magnificent Gardenia augusta as a raw perfumery material, and we'll be able to enjoy that version of the gardenia scent also.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Perfume Design: Anya's Garden MoonDance and StarFlower: Evolution and Morphing

MoonDance - an Evolutionary Style Perfume

StarFlower - a Morphing Style Perfume

I recently-launched StarFlower and MoonDance, two fragrances that were designed in two very different ways. There is a historic perfume style that is classic: evolution. Most traditional perfumery schools and textbooks teach that a perfume should evolve smoothly, transiting from top to base notes, with a heart that melds them together. My MoonDance perfume is blended in that manner, and as one reviewer wrote me privately "is very subtle in the changes." That is the exact effect I was looking for.

The lovely, fragrant MoonFlower (not to be confused with MoonDance!) slowly unfolds in an evolution that is subtle and beautiful. The tiny bud slowly opens to reveal a larger version of itself, color intact, form barely changed over time. The pointed petal tips, arranged in a rounded, clock-like fashion, softly blend into the overall form of the fully-emerged flower. There is an innate, sophisticated beauty to such an evolution, and nature has given a hint of the final shape from the tiniest bud form of the flower.

StarFlower perfume was designed to morph dramatically, to showcase my artistic vision how the innocent-looking beguiling white flowers can trick you into coming closer for a sniff, only to reveal their sultry, sexy undercurrent. Another writer picked up on this immediately writing "it starts out sprightly, and turns dark and carnal." Wonderful! Exactly what I was going for.

This image helps convey the reasoning behind the design of StarFlower perfume - it might start out "sprightly" with lemon, cherry and almond notes, but it quickly starts to morph into something bigger, deeper, darker, voluminous.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

When A Perfume Customer Needs Some Guidance

Anya's Garden Perfume Sampling Suggestion List

I created a new card that I include when mailing out samples of my perfume. Realizing that a whiff of Fairchild could overwhelm the nose if the next whiff was a delicate perfume like Pan, I decided to create the card to guide my customers through a 'vertical flight' of scent intensity.

Not saying Pan perfume is weak - it's not at all. It's cozy and musky and a cult favorite. It's longlasting and extremely wearable, too. It's just that on a scent intensity scale of 1 to 5, it's a 3 and Fairchild is a 4. Definitely a 4, bordering on a 5, which I reserve for Kaffir and StarFlower.

The perfumistas on the Perfume of Life forum are chatting in a thread that was started today that touches upon this, comparing wine descriptives to perfume terms, so I joined in with the intensity factor, which I feel is very important.

It's good to keep this in mind if you're visiting a perfume counter and have an array of perfumes to choose from. Ask the SA if she could rank them by scent intensity, and if she doesn't understand the concept, explain that Gucci Rush is on the high end, and Thierry Mugler Cologne on the low end. Hope she/he gets it and you can enjoy a sensible, logical way to spritz and evaluate.

Monday, October 05, 2009

MoonDance Perfume from Anya's Garden: a sexy slow dance

MoonDance Perfume Launched October 5, 2009 to celebrate Anya McCoy's birthday and the next "perfume as art reflecting life" phase of Anya's Garden Perfumes

Cool, sophisticated romantic love, as you slowly dance under the full moon, and a sweet and long-forgotten memory of eternity emerges from MoonDance. Sweet violet flowers, a touch of mint, sulty tuberose and sambac and the iconic accord of rose and apple-scented chamomile softly radiate over a woody, sultry base.

Top notes: American Violet Flower Isolate, Indian Water Mint

Middle notes: French Tuberose, Chinese Jasmine Sambac, French Rose de Mai, American Chamomile

Base notes: Carolina Ambergris, Haitian Sandalwood, Sustainable White Sandalwood, South African Hyrax

MoonDance is now my signature scent. I originally conceived this perfume at the end of 2007, and thought I'd release it in 2008, along with StarFlower. They're both homages to tuberose, that heady, swoon-inducing and sensual flower from Mexico. During the modifications of MoonDance I felt a need to go sweeter, softer and more lunar, if you will. Why not? The name evokes a very yin quality of surrender, and surrender to the soft, yielding call of the MoonDance I did.

The arrival of a glorious opoponax absolute created the perfect creamy, resiny base I wanted to cushion the perfume - along with an incredible white sandalwood I sourced from old wood reserves. And, in a moment of impetuous fun, I double-dosed the ambergris at the final blending! Sometimes the moon just takes over and you have to surrender to your impulses, yes?

I think that the inclusion of a touch of water mint at the opening was needed, even though I found that the heart was reaching up and creating the topnotes from heaven. If you're slow dancing in a garden, maybe there is a tiny bit of mint, wet and sprightly underfoot, and your step will gently release the scent, but you are already enveloped in the waft of the jasmine sambac, rose and tuberose. What's that? A hint of apple? The siren call of tuberose? How delightful! Your recognition of the floral dance of violet flowers makes the rapture complete.

Admission: I frequently lie in the garden at night here in tropical Miami, enjoying the sultry scents that sweep around in the evening air. I also harvest a lot of my night-blooming beauties then, and have for many years. Neighbors are used to seeing me out there at midnight, carefully harvesting the scented wonders of the dark.

MoonDance is my perfume that most closely resembles the fragrance of my back garden which is the more secluded place of private midnight reveries and dances. I will be wearing it every day this month in honor of my birthday, my perfumery and my desire to create art that reflects my life and gardens.

To celebrate the launch of Moondance, all perfume sample sets are $35 and individual perfume samples $5 during the month of October. No need to enter a code, just checkout. All full bottles of perfumes and botanicals are 10% off. Use the code moondance at checkout. I hope you will enjoy a slow dance in the moonlight, a MoonDance of beauty and nighttime pleasures.