Monday, November 15, 2010

Outlaw Perfume Project - A Natural Perfumers Guild Artistic Statement

Soon after I started blogging in 2006, I began to write of the incredibly restrictive and unreasonable "guidelines" of the International Fragrance Association, and the resultant laws from the European Union that effectively killed perfumery.  True, they also ranked some synthetics as "dangerous" (brain disruptions), but the list of naturals, which had been used for centuries without major problems, was overwhelming.  I rarely bother to blog about these issues anymore.  I discovered I was the ONLY perfumer doing so at the time, and it cast a bit of a bitter pall over my blog.  I'd rather be blogging about the beauty and luxury of naturals, so here I am.

I passed the ball on to other bloggers! Nine bloggers will be participating this week, and you can find their links at the end of this post.

They're all insightful, intelligent and passionate about perfumery.  Their readership far outstrips mine, and the Outlaw Perfume project is a great way for them to spread the word about this abomination against natural aromatics. They also get to sample the gorgeous perfumes created by the Natural Perfumers Guild members (disclaimer: I'm the president of the Guild) and offer a giveaway of the Outlaw Perfume on their blogs. 

I've always been someone who challenges authority. In the 60's, I marched for civil rights, against the Vietnam War, and for women's rights.  This IFRA and EU-driven blacklisting agenda against naturals must stop.  Readers, please remember that they're stomping on *your* rights to choose what you put on or in your body.

Anyone can use common sense and not put perfume on skin that is exposed to sunlight, so, there, the photo-sensitization problem of some of the citruses, angelica root, etc., solved ;-)  Think you may be a bit sensitized to oakmoss? Wear the perfume in your hair, or on your clothing, or in a perfume jewelry piece. 

I'm taking photos of vinaigrettes and perfume lockets that I'll share later this week.  They're a beautiful addition to a jewelry wardrobe, and serve a double purpose of gently releasing your perfume. It's all about our choice, and not bowing down to nanny-state governments.  How simple if a warning label, some perfume dabbed in your hair, or on your clothing, or in a piece of pretty jewelry solves this problem.  Or, if you're a daring outlaw like me - wear it on your skin!

I originally planned to release only one perfume for this project, but found I was finishing up it alongside another perfume that was truly outlaw in nature, so may I present Light and Amberess.

Amberess, the Princess Outlaw

Although I have created many custom Floriental perfumes for clients, I have difficulty wearing amber perfumes, my skin just can’t handle them. How ironic, since I adore the fossilized amber resin, and have a lot of amber jewelry.  Many years ago, I was given a small sample of true amber oil from Egypt, and I treasured it.  Then, Will at Eden Botanicals sourced the first commercially-available oil of fossilized amber, from the Himalayas. It is a wonderful oil, and a treasure to add to the natural perfumer’s perfume organ.  And it’s untested – so feh to IFRA! Even better, it works well on my skin, so I’m delighted by Amberess.

The very rare, very expensive, UNTESTED 
                                   Princesse de Nassau Rosa moschata aka Musk Rose

Top notes: none, in the true Oriental style
Middle notes: Zambian  Princesse de Nassau Rosa Moschata African musk rose otto and Musk rose absolute, Madagascan ylang ylang, South African rose geranium sur fleurs
Base notes: Indonesian patchouli, Himalayan amber oil, Turkish styrax, Greek labdanum, Peruvian tonka bean, Salvadorean balsam tolu, Balsam of Peru, Chinese benzoin, Madagascan vanilla

*red denotes untested or prohibited/limited aromatic


I originally called this perfume Aglaia, the genus name of the utterly delightful tiny flower of the Chinese perfume tree, Aglaia odorata, since I was building the perfume around this absolute. The name change was a natural – it is light, breezy, floral and citrusy, so Light it is.  A classically-composed “cologne” style perfume, the aglaia flower is truly the soliflore that sings the beauty of less is more. The color of the perfume is a sparkling bright yellow – so sunny!

The aglaia flower so so, so tiny! I grow the tree in my garden and make a very concentrated tincture that takes a long time to make. Why? Harvest for about an hour and you might have an ounce of the seed!

How is Light, so delicate, so innocent, an outlaw? The notes of this charming perfume that are either limited by, or untested by IFRA are shown in red.

Top notes: Sicilian cedrat, Israeli yellow grapefruit, French juniper berry.
Middle notes: Chinese aglaia flower, French genet flower, North Carolina ambergris.
Base notes: Hojari frankincense oil, edible frankincense sacra resinoid

I believe this is the first perfume to feature aglaia as a soliflore.  The genet supports is beautifully, adding a bit of a musk note!  The drydown reveals the true aglaia scent, which can last for two hours or more on your wrist or neck, many hours on your hair or clothing, or in a perfume locket.  The light, lemon-tinged frankincenses are the perfect base support for this soliflore. This is my wear-anytime, go-anywhere perfume. I adore it.

I have blogged extensively about Aglaia flowers here on my blog, and you can search for posts.  Aglaia was the name of a Greek goddess, and I suspect this is the origin of the name of the plant. Wonder if she was an outlaw-type goddess? ;-)

Participating Perfumers:

Participating Bloggers:

Guild Perfumer's Blogs:


  1. These both sound delightful and exciting. Wonderful commitment you've made over all the years to draw attention to the lunacy and bureaucracy of these natural botanical party-poopers!

  2. Fantastic project, Anya, it does bring the perfumes out to a wider audience, I only wish it was even wider --

    and your perfume making has only grown more beautiful over the time I have known it.

  3. bravo Anya! You have activist soul :)

  4. Kay, this project is having a big impact! I truly expect the stance we are taking to "trickle up" to major perfume houses, from what I'm sensing.

  5. Lucy, how can you measure wide? ;-) I think it will spider out to other bloggers who read about it, and who support this stance. It will take some time, but doesn't everything good?

    You notice the difference in my perfumes, and that's because I got caught up in a pretty vortex. People do like pretty more than interesting sometimes, look at beauty pageants!

  6. Thanks, Ankica, I have yes, always been an activist, from a very young age. We need more activists and rebels, with balance, to challenge the status quo.

  7. Thank you for the blog, I am researching perfumes as we speak. I love essential oils and all of their amazing uses.

  8. This is a very inspiring project and I'm enjoying the reviews.

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