Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery Institute: Student Registration Starts December 1, 2009

The next basic perfumery course offered by Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery Institute will commence in late February, 2010. The exact date will be announced at a later date. The revised syllabus and details on the course schedule will be available November 20, 2010.

The homepage for Perfume Classes.com has been updated and the latest information for the newly-revised curriculum can be found there. There are now three options for study:


1. An interactive, fast-paced course that is six-months long and
2. A self-paced option for those who wish to study on their own.

Distance learning non-web-based:

3. Textbook and kit supplied, no website access

Since the opening of the school in 2007, about one hundred students have enrolled, and dozens have received their certificate of completion. Since some students fell behind in their studies due to family, work or other issues, it was decided to open the self-paced option. Students can enroll at any time for that option, but the interactive course starts in February and requires a commitment to stay apace of the studies. If the student falls behind, they will be placed in the self-paced option.

Instructor Anya McCoy is an accomplished artisan natural perfumer with a history of helping people from all over the work learn about perfumery in the Yahoo group she has hosted since 2002, and her perfumes receive rave reviews from many perfume bloggers. Also available for individual consultation, she conducts her artisan perfumery from Miami Shores, Florida, where she maintains a garden of fragrant tropical plants, many used in her perfumes. Anya is the President of the Natural Perfumers Guild and in that role maintains a roster of the most respected names in perfumery, all dedicated to the use of natural aromatics.

All students will have full access to the numerous resources on the website as they move forward in their perfumery studies.

Registration is open to a limited number of students, and will begin December 1, 2009.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

StarFlower and MoonDance from Anya's Garden Perfumes Reviewed on Perfume Shrine - comment and you may win samples

Elena at Perfume Shrine reviewed MoonDance and StarFlower from Anya's Garden Perfumes, and if you leave a comment, you will be entered in a drawing to win samples - click here to read and enter

"Everything I do is Illegal" - relevant for food producers, perfumers, bath and body businesses and many other microbusinesses

With some chat going on following my blog yesterday quoting article showing the problems with government regulation in microbusinesses, especially businesses that produce items for our body, whether they be perfume, food, herbal medicine and the like, this great article Everything I Do is Illegal was sent to a busy herb list I'm on. He's a food producer - meat products, to be exact - and he's an intelligent voice calling for some common sense. Our country has turned into a corporate- and industrial- business machine, and the small businesses are being regulated out of business.

Regarding the post yesterday, the most chat is going on in the herb list. Herbalists are traditionally plant gatherers and processors. They're also traditionally a bit apart from mainstream society, aside from those who have grown their businesses into huge corporations, such as the ones mentioned in the Cruel Stepmother and Good Father Who Will Not See article. Many of us are familiar with them, and are happy that they have brought the healing power of herbs to the general public, but we can also wonder what their success means to the little herb company trying to comply with the GMP regs that are unfriendly to small businesses.

Microbusinesses must be allowed to exist and prosper in our country. The herbalists are happy that they feel they can find ways to fly under the radar of the FDA. But I ask should they be forced to go underground, become outlaws in a sense? What's wrong with warning labels? What's wrong with concessions for microbusinesses?

If "fight" is too strong a word for some who may think that capitulating to legislator's whims and the FDA's edicts, I disagree. This country was formed on the notion of fighting for our rights. Don't let the cooing sounds of some fool you - you must fight.

So what does fighting mean? It doesn't mean attacking your legislator verbally, of course it doesn't! It means putting some backbone in yourself, getting off your rear end and going to work for the cause - rolling back regulations and working to get microbusiness-friendly regs in place.

Fifth English Language Article by Famed Perfumer Edmond Roudnitska uploaded to Anya's Garden Perfumes site

The latest in the series of articles in English has been uploaded to Anya's Garden Perfumes, and in it Mr. Roudnitska shares his thoughts and philosophy on "Concerning the Circumstances Favorable to the Creation of an Original Perfume" from Perfumer and Flavorist Magazine April/May 1984.

Just click the link above to view it and the four previous articles in PDF form for download.

The next article is quite large at 48 pages. It will take me some time to scan it all, and I hope I figure out the way to create PDFs in bits and pieces so I can scan over time, not having to sit down for a marathon scanathon! If anyone can help me with the logistics, I'd appreciate it.

Lovely series: North American Originals: Perfumers on Fall &Winter

Natural Perfumers Guild President Anya McCoy is featured on The Scented Salamander website series: North American Originals:Perfumers on Fall & Winter.

Anya's Garden Perfume's two new colder season scents, MoonDance and StarFlower are explained in Part Two

From the Scented Salamander:
American perfumery is as varied as its landscape. One of its most notable traits is the fact that in spite of the presence of giant corporations like Coty or Estée Lauder, there exists a strong breed, I am tempted to say, of independent perfumers who appear by contrast even more like the necessary missing pieces of a vast puzzle. And without them, one could argue, American perfumery would be forgetting the flip side of anonymous efficiency, large-scale organization and big business, that is, originality, primitivism, naïveté, a sense of community, intimacy, individualism and let us not forget, the can-do attitude. If we only had the big labels, we would still have rivers of perfume, but we would have less of a certain moral spirit, the individualist one. And I don't know really what is America without the individual.

She or he is like the flavor of home-grown local herbs added to a standard national recipe.

Nonetheless, we still need the giants because without the Leviathans, perfumery would not be as democratic an art, a pleasure and a way of life. Mass-marketed perfume may be a French invention borne out of the intuitions of François Coty, he who knew perfume could both be a sign of luxury and a household name, but mass-market perfumery particularly thrives in the United-States thanks to sheer size and a deep culture of consumerism.

Ultimately, the ideals of democracy and pluralism that are the bread and butter of the American psyche open up enough room for independent perfumers to be not isolated and too rugged but an expression of a particular sensitivity.

In this series we meet with a number of North-American indie perfumers who reveal a naturalistic approach. They can be distinguished from so-called "niche perfumers" easily by realizing that their reference point is their own personal experiences. Indie perfumers are more hands-on and are usually less inspired by a tradition, genres, a cannon or the market. And as far as independent perfumery goes, this means to me also that independent perfumers make their perfumes themselves almost from scratch, even sometimes devising their own ingredients or searching for new sources of natural inspirations in their self-cultivated gardens. Due to this sensitivity to the naturalist context, their catalogs tend to be colored, more or less explicitly, by real-world references like the seasons in an impressionistic sense, or the fruits of the seasons. Some of these perfumers have extensive libraries of scents, others concentrate on a more compact collection.

To develop one step further the food metaphor, American Originals are more like non-processed food. Even though indie perfumers do not necessarily use only natural ingredients, the creative process itself seems more natural and unmediated. An art of the vignette is born where nature is approached in an interpersonal manner, where scents refer to a precise point in time, evoke warm, nostalgic memories.

After asking a group of independent perfumers for their thoughts on Fall & Winter fragrances, I have weaved their voices and their beautiful words into a virtual conversational exchange. Some perfumers who have contributed longer answers, I have taken the liberty to interrupt for a day to let them pursue their thoughts on the next not because what they said was too long but because it creates a balance and a rhythm, a journal-like quality that echoes for me, the charm of truly seasonal fragrances as natural clocks of time, images of the ebb and flow of the days.

I will add short bios on the last day of the series.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Evil Stepmother and the Father Who Will Not See - the FDA/GMP is out to perpetuate the eternal scenario

As many of you know, I have fought for years against the creeping corporate takeover of indie and microbusinesses. Just search on this blog for IFRA, EU, FDA Globalization Act and government. The future of our businesses is in immediate danger. I am horrified that several organizations that represent indie and microbusinesses are in lockstep with the FDA and tweeting and blogging about their 'victories" with legislators, either blinded or too blind to see the horrible demise in store for our businesses - they should be fighting the FDA, not kowtowing to it, giddy with "making progress". They're not, they're being fooled.

Please everyone - don't be the frog in the pot of cool water who never feels the heat being turned up until it is too late and he's cooked.

Read this following speech, given at the International Herb Symposium by Stephen Buhner and pass it around, and more importantly, ask those who are all puffed up and happy that the FDA and legislative lackeys of the corporate world that seeks to destroy our businesses why they don't see this coming:


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Antique Tonquin Musk bottle win

This delicate and lovely bottle arrived in the mail yesterday, and yes, there is some scent in it and some grains and residue. The grains and residue coat the inside about 1.5 inches up the sides, roughly the same height as the label. The overall bottle is 6.25 inches tall. I have never seen a Fritzsche bottle with this design. The label reads: FRITZSCHE BROTHERS, Inc. Essences and Essential Oils ~ Fine Drugs and Chemical Preparations ~ Tonquin in Grains. Moisture More Than 15%. The next part really caught my attention: The bottle is clear at the top with heavy dark brown residue on the bottom. There is a little brown string around the top.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this on Ebay, and further surprise I won it with a rather low bid, and there were only two other bidders. I got it for $11 and change and with shipping, it was under $20.

Musk is now illegal because the collection of the pods required the killing of the musk deer. These small lovely animals were slaughtered by the thousands for the perfumery and Chinese medicine trade. Nowadays there are farms for the collection of the pods for Chinese medicine and the pods are harvested by laparoscopic surgery, and the deers are of course, not killed, and survive to produce more pods.

The scent of musk was added to perfumes lavishly for centuries, but wiht the CITES agreement, disappeared from commercial perfumes in the 1970's. Some musk is making its way into the market from the Chinese. I have small samples of some recent Tonquin musk and I can compare it to the Kashmiri musk that someone collected about 20 years ago. They are different in scent, quite different.

Here's another view of my new bottle. Both photos are from the Ebay seller. I'm going to pour some 190 proof organic grain alcohol into the bottle today, filling just up to where the residue stops. I hope to get a weak tincture and enjoy the look into the past, while yes, feeling very sad of the unnecessary slaughter of the deers that took place to make this odorant/fixative possible in those days.

Perhaps sometime in the near future the humane harvest of the pods by the Chinese can provide a small amount of this prized and fragrant material be made available.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Third English language article by Edmond Roudnitska - "The Novice and His Perfume Palette" available

The third of six article in English by famed perfumer Edmond Roudnitska has been uploaded to Anya's Garden Perfumes website. Titled "The Novice and His Perfume Palette", it was published by Dragoco in 1982. In it you will find a methodology that I believe is still used in perfume classes at Givaudan, pioneered by Jean Carles and Roudnitska. If any perfume historian can corroborate this, I would be happy to publish the information.

Both self-taught perfumers, Carles and Roudnitska pioneered a strict methodology to teach novice perfumers how to learn the scent/memory association. In the Dragodo article, Roudnitska strives to share his take on how the context of fragrance families helps the beginner learn both context and association.

I have used a method like this since the beginning of my classes in natural perfumery. I devised forms to record the information gleaned from the study, and progressed on to the methodology I formulated to take the beginner step-by-step into the lifelong learning process that a perfumer must pursue.

More will be published later this week here on this blog about my upcoming classes, since sign up will start in late November/early December. Classical French perfumery study methodology adapted for natural aromatics are the core curriculum in my course, and I'm happy to share the seminal work by Roudnitska that made this all possible.