Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Anya's Garden Perfumes Crossword Puzzles for Perfumistas!

I created crossword puzzles for my students in the past, and I had a bunch of trouble with the program, so I stopped. I've just started them up again since I figured out the program, and this one, for Module 2, is a lot of fun! Perhaps the most ardent perfumista will get all the answers, but you may miss a few because they're specific to my course. Still, enjoy yourself, testing your knowledge of perfumery terms. as part of

Monday, April 26, 2010

Floral Harvest from a Perfumer's Garden - Anya's Garden ;-)

Click to enlarge and see the beauty of this morning's harvest from the front of the house at Casa Jasmin, where Anya's Garden Perfumes blooms under the tropical sun. I got this quick harvest this morning before the "big" storm hit, and I just beat it by minutes.

The big mixing bowl holds about a gallon of liquid, but in other terms, there are 30 vietnamese gardenias in there (about 3" across for reference), several golden champaca flowers, and the tiny yellow darlings are Aglaia odorata flowers. Into the alcohol tincture for the champacas and aglaias, into the enfleurage tray for the gardenias. I'm so lucky! Oh, the bamboo skewer you see on the right was used to "pollinate" my vanilla orchid flower. Let's see if I get a bean. ;-) The vanilla orchid just started blooming, and I have to go out every day for the one flower a day on the vine to try to get a harvest by hand-pollination. It's fun!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ask The Perfumer - Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Click the image of the batteuse that is used to agitate the pomade and alcohol 
to enlarge it so that you can see the details

It's 7:00 a.m., I'm off to get some coffee. When I return I'll be happy to answer your questions about perfumery in all it's aspects - raw materials, sourcing, blending, etc.

Just post your question in this comments section.

Adding this photo of a batteuse in response to a question about pomades.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I don't think IFRA perfume regulations address allergens in the air


The other day I came across a blog entry on Nathan Branch's site, and despite trying to register and log in to post a comment, I couldn't. I wrote Nathan, haven't heard back yet, so I just want to put this out there because I feel there was such a misunderstanding of IFRA regulations a correction was needed.

Seems Nathan received a lot of bottles of perfume to photograph for Abigail Levin's The Posh Peasant website. As he unpacked the box, his BF, in the next room, began to have respiratory distress. This continued until the bottles were packed back in the box and sealed. 

Here is what I tried to post on the blog:

Interesting theory, however, incorrect.

IFRA regs cover possible skin-related issues (including oral preparations, such as mouthwash), not the respiratory system.  They also drift into the murky world of potential systemic problems, hence the completely incorrect stance against coumarinic raw materials. There are some bits in here about aerosols, but that has to do with room sprays, etc.

Mostly, it addresses leave-on and wash-off levels. Nary a word about sneezing or coughing, or running noses, reactions I sometimes have and many others have documented regarding being in the sillage of a modern perfume. The oakmoss that is stated to be (perhaps) the culprit has absolutely no history of causing respiratory problems: it is 100% in the skin allergen category.

When it is stated that perhaps the "new" IFRA-ready formulations are perhaps better because the BF never had a negative response to them, I beg to differ. I never had a problem with perfumes until the mid 80's when harsh synthetics were introduced to perfumes. They're the cause of the majority of complaints against "modern" perfumes. Too much diffusiveness, too harsh, too much sillage, too much substantivity.

Your BF's reaction may have been related to something else entirely. Perhaps one particular ingredient, e.g., rose, if he's allergic to rose, caused the problem.

The photos, however, are beautiful, so it's too bad the association of an allergy attack are melded with them.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day everyone. 

I've celebrated this day since the first one, on Belmont Plateau, in Fairmount Park, in Philadelphia. Have we come far? I don't think so, but awareness is out there, more and more, but change is slow. I never thought we'd be facing new, different environmental challenges on top of the ones we had then.

One constant in my life, earth-wise? I loved natural essential oils then, and I still do. I reject mainstream perfumes because of the environmental issues they cause with my body, and that I find them often "flat" smelling. I adore the richness and complexity of natural aromatics, from the flowers in the garden, the pine groves with their clean, fresh scent, and all of the natural extracts, from essential oils, concretes, absolutes, tinctures, CO2s  and more.

Natural Perfumery truly seems to be a good outcome of environmental awareness and love of beautiful aromatic raw materials, blended with consciousness and intelligence. Thoughtful, beautiful natural perfumes. Good for you, good for the earth.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ask the Perfumer: A New Resource for Perfumistas on Anya's Garden Perfumes Blog

Answering questions about perfumery is second nature to me. I've hosted the huge Natural Perfumery group on Yahoo for almost seven years, I instruct perfumers, I consult with perfumers about their businesses, and I just live my life immersed in the art.

Sometimes I feel questions I answer on the Yahoo group are just stuck in a bit of a hidden-away area of the Internet. I have read *every one* of the 39960 messages there. Yes, we're going to hit 40,000 soon! That's a lot of perfume talk. Whew. The mind almost boggles, but the spirit says take the show on the road, like our well-appointed apothecarian-perfumer in the image above.

So, I'm going to open up my blog every Sunday for questions. I know a lot, but there's a lot I don't know, so please forgive me if I can't answer your question. I'll let you know when I can't, and I'll try to send you on a path to find the answer. Oh, math will stump me. A bit. I can't answer math questions on the fly.

Some ground rules to keep it moving:

1. Just one question at a time. I often get paragraphs of ten questions within. One at a time, please.

2. Only ask on Sundays. I am in Miami, EST USA time, and I'll sign off around 10PM my time on Sundays. If you ask other times, I'll have to ignore it.

3. I'll open up the blog for questions with a post - like this one - titled "Ask the Perfumer". That is the post you'll need to reply to for your query.

Sound good? Let's get going.

PS. I know nothing about synths - aromachemicals.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Making Natural Perfume with Isolates

Disclaimer:  It has come to my attention that Douglas Stewart of Scentsual Antiquities has a link to this blog post, perhaps implying that he is endorsed by me.  This is not the case, and I have no affiliation with him, and would wish he would take the link down, as it is deceptive.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Artisan Perfumer Monks

I just won this postcard on eBay, and I wanted to share because I really dig the imagery. I also like their setup, it's so simple.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Online Natural Perfumery Course Just Keeps Getting Better and Better

The image is that of an old Frapper map of the students. I think Frapper is going to be gone within the year, and I'll miss it. It hasn't updated for a while, and while it was, it was fun to see where all the students of the Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery Institute were located all over the world. We have had four from Australia since this map appeared, one from Singapore, Germany, Kuwait...the list is truly international. I'm going to find a new way to map the students, "watch this space" as they say ;-)

About the course and the website - you know, when you build something from the ground up, with your own knowledge, your own creative ideas, and your own hours of dedication and hard work, it means so much. It's your baby, nobody else can claim it, you made it. It's very rewarding, very rewarding.

When I was prodded into teaching back in 2007, I put the coursework together as quickly as I could, to meet the student's demands. So I created a Primer, and it allowed the students to see the outline of what was going to be taught, but I was working every month to build the course content on the website behind the scenes. So the students had to combine the Primer's information with the more detailed, instructive information on the website, and I'm happy to say it went very well.

Two lovely students helped me edit it a bit at that time, and I'm forever grateful to them. Thanks Denise and Nancy! Now I have a consulting editor on a monthly retainer, and the resultant product is fabulous! I have a book deal in the works for the textbook, and so we're going in and editing it some more. I'm just happy to have someone to edit my dangling participles, correct my wandering tenses, and generally whip it all into shape. The fact that she's a dedicated natural perfumer and a bona fide technical writer (worked for Microsoft and Boeing) is just a fabulous gift to me. And the students.

The new website, on a different platform than the previous three courses, it a breeze to work with. I had a professional IT webmaster for the old Moodle site, and even then, there were lots of problems. Moodle is a dinosaur! The new platform is fast, easily customizable, and I have a pretty, pretty website for the students this time around - and from now on.

Imagine my surprise when over a dozen prospective students tried to enroll after the course began! Looking to the future, I'm reworking the site a bit so that students will be able to sign up at any time, year-round, and jump right into their studies. This is a great decision, and I hope to have the website tweaked for this within a month.

That's it for now, the February 2010 course is in session, there are 12 students instead of the 10 I originally planned for, and everything is moving smoothly. I have a medical doctor, a chemical engineer, a science teacher, several aromatherapists, a Marine in Kuwait, a massage therapist, and several business owners in the class. They're a wonderful group, and I love interacting with them - on a frequent, almost daily basis - in the private chat group.

I know that the art of natural perfumery will keep growing with such dedicated and passionate students in the mix, because they're the next generation, and that's very exciting.