Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thought-Provoking post on greening a product, quality and a reference to Natural Perfumery

Michelyn Camen, the editor-in-chief of Cafleurebon launched a new feature, the Letter from the Editor, which will be a monthly event.  I think it's a great read on many levels.  Click here and leave a comment, if you wish.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, April 24, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

Happy Easter everyone. I hope you have a chance to have a relaxing day, and I hope you will enjoy beautiful weather this lovely Spring day.  I'll be online on and off today, and I'm happy to check in for your perfumery questions. There were quite a few comments that were added to last Sunday's "Ask the Perfumer" during the week, so if you were following a topic there, you may wish to visit the comments thread again.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Natural Perfumers Guild Update for April 2011

Guild news: We welcome Anu Prestonia of Anu's Essentials as a Professional Perfumer. Michelyn Camen upgraded her membership to Associate by adding CaFleureBon to our roster. Laura Natusch of Urban Eden joined as an Associate andBeverly Laird has joined us as a Friend. Many thanks to David of Renaissance Aromas and Nick of Sharini Parfums Naturels for renewing their membership. David is an Associate and Nick is a Professional Perfumer. Also Trygve Harris of Enfleurage (Associate) and Lydia Sabbah of Sabbah Perfumes (Professional Perfumer) renewed their memberships. It's been a busy month!

Mandy Aftel, who founded the Guild in 2002, resigned from the Guild, by mutual decision.  The direction of the Guild is inclusive of those who wish to teach, and those who wish to sell various lines of oils they desire, a sharing and learning place for all.  Mandy is honored as the Founder, and as the leader in the natural perfumery world, and we treasure her for her generosity in giving the ownership of the Guild over in 2006, and for her years of advice and direction.  She cannot be replaced, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

Guild Projects:  Elise Pearlstine (Professional Perfumer) hosted a very successful group bottle buy for Guild members.  Not only were the buy participants able to obtain lovely perfume bottles in small amounts for their microbusinesses, but those in more remote areas, such as South Africa and New Zealand were able to obtain previously-unavailable bottles. Elise, thanks so much!

Perfumers Share Their Thoughts on Earth Day + a Giveaway

CaFleureBon, one of the highest-ranked perfume blogs in the world, has a great Earth Day post up.  EIC Michelyn Camen invited a number of perfumers, myself included, to share our thoughts on what Earth Day means to us.  There is also a great giveaway, via a random draw,  for those who leave a comment. Read the blog here and leave a comment, sharing your thoughts.  I have to say the folks who have posted so far are really impressed me with their comments.  So thoughful!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Yummy, Natural Trend: Perfuming Your Food - and the Launch of Anya's Garden Food & Drink Oils - with a Giveaway

Trends are fun, and it's fun to be on the front end of one.  Funny thing about this trend, which is using essential oils for food and drinks, is that it's been around for a long time. I've been cooking with essential oils since 1978, starting out with the humble dill weed oil. Nobody noticed much except my friends and family and customers of my early-80's catering business.

The difference is that now it's starting to get attention in the media.  Heck, I wanted to launch my latest line, Anya's Garden Food & Drink Oils, way  back in 2006.  At that time, I wrote a letter to a local chef who was opening a new restaurant, pitching her the idea.  She never replied, I got toooo busy with life and work, and had to put my line on the back burner.

Now, the timing is better, anyway.  There are several mixologists who have been hosting perfumed cocktail soirees for the past year or so.  Menket Prince, whom I knew from aromatherapy groups back in the mid-90's, wrote a book Cooking with Essential Oils.  If you google "cooking with essential oils" you'll find over 136,000 hits.

From my Heart: Pushing a Trend, Pushing baby birds out of the Nest

I'm always one to push a trend, especially for the members of the Natural Perfumers Guild.  Well, even before the Guild, when I hosted, for free, the Natural Perfumery website. I had been hosting the yahoo NP group for several years, and realized that the perfumers need to get the word out on the Internet about this new trend, natural perfumery, and that by grouping together on one site, they would benefit from google ranking, more hits, etc.  I was then going to establish the Natural Fragrance Association, but I had the defunct Natural Perfumers Guild given to me, so I went with that as a platform for promoting the art and the artisans.

After receiving several awards from Internet bloggers in 2009, I encouraged other perfumers to get out on the Internet more, send samples and take advantage of the heightened recognition of natural perfumery.  Then Guild perfumer Dominique Dubrana had the idea of a competition centered around musk.  I felt the perfumers needed a different platform than a competition, so I  developed Internet projects that would help push the baby birds ;-) out of the nest:  They were the Mystery of Musk and the Outlaw Perfume projects.  What great successes they were!  Previously-unknown-to-the-general-public Guild perfumers received the attention they deserved, and Ida Meister of Cafleurebon exclaimed: "Who knew there were so many talented natural perfumers out there?" regarding the July MOM project. (Was it a subconscious slip that the acronym for the slogan I created was "mom", being a list mom and Guild mom"? ;-)  The Outlaw Perfume project of November 2011 was even a bigger hit.

Now I want to share with the Guild perfumers, associates and suppliers the idea that they develop a line of culinary oils.  Think up a fun phrase, please don't use Food & Drink (mine) or Chef's Essences (Mandy Aftel's).  First, use the links I provided to find recipes and test them yourself.  Offer courses at local community colleges, farmer's markets, or offer stand-alone workshops.  This is a great way to expand your line and introduce people to your natural perfumes at the same time.  I'm excited to think that some perfumers in other countries, like Australia or England might be trailblazers in their countries. Like tea? Create perfumed teas, or coffees, if that's your drink of choice.  Be creative!

This is the root of my philosophy in running the Guild, and I stick by it: encourage others to get out there, ride with a trend, help each other, and the natural fragrance world will be the better for it.

Leave a comment, as I'd love feedback to see what you think - and feel - about my "pushing the baby birds" and this new trend, and you'll be in the random drawing for two of my Food and Drink Oils!  Please post before 10 a.m. Saturday morning, April 23.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CaFleureBon really hit a nerve with their recent post on phobias - and how aromatherapy can help

I was honored that Editor-in-Chief Michelyn Camen asked me for my professional opinion on how specific essential oils or absolutes can help alleviate phobias.  I have studied aromatherapy enthusiastically since I first obtained Robert Tisserand's book The Art of Aromatherapy in 1979.  I was fascinated with the theory (followed up by clinical practice trials) that the beautiful oils I loved could help all sorts of medical issues.

I submitted information about vanilla, lavender and neroli, which is orange blossom. 

Then I noticed not many men were leaving comments on CaFleureBon.  I think men hide their phobias, don't you?  Do they have a phobia about asking for directions? LOL.  That is a common complaint of the women who accompany men on road trips. Here's one I never heard of - Arachibutyrophobia - fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

Just some silliness to break up the monotony of the day.  My contribution to helping some men get over to CaFleureBon and leaving a comment, so that they may be in the running for the CalmSpace prize:  If you leave a comment now, after 8 PM EST, USA April 19, I'll pick a random name and send you a few samples of my perfume that I know have calming, aromatherapy effects, like Temple, Pan and Amberess.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, April 17, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

I'm up early because it's going to be a busy, busy day, but I'm not too busy to answer your questions about perfumery.  If you know what I'm "soft" launching tomorrow in an expansion of the Anya's Garden Perfumes fragrant products, and you post here with the correct answer, you'll win two of the launch products ;-)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mandy Aftel resigns from the Natural Pefumers Guild

The Natural Perfumers Guild’s Founder, Mandy Aftel submitted her resignation from the Guild on January 28, 2011, and announced it publicly on April 14, 2011.  We respect her decision, and wish her well in her endeavors and her three Fifi nominations, which paved the way for natural perfumery to be accepted as an ART. 

We look forward to bringing the Guild to the next level as we work towards achieving our goals of even more awareness and new voices, noses and fans in  the 21st Century.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, April 10, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

I'll be here until 10 PM, EST, USA, so if you have any questions, please post.  I'm working on the lilac post I promised two days ago, but life sure has a way of messing up your plans, eh? ;-)  Are the lilacs blooming where you are?  I have tips on how to capture it's scent.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Kewda flower may be victim of government crackdown on gutkha in India

Oh, no, my beloved kewda flower, the male flower of the Pandanus odoritissimus, a Prehistoric plant that has survived for millions of year, may be in danger because of a proposed Indian law.  It seems that the kewda flower is one ingredient used in a rather toxic chewing gum known as gutkha.  You can read the article for all the details, but I will cut the chase about the problem:  an industry may be shut down because of this, an industry that supports many families and a beautiful product that is used in perfumery.  I use pandanus flower oil in two of my perfumes, Fairchild and Kewdra.  I will be able to harvest the flower here in Miami or grow my own if supply dries up.

 Pandanus - aka Kewda flower

I truly don't think it will dry up, because some of the distilleries will remain active.  Perhaps the distilleries could have been more forward-thinking and used some long range planning for alternative uses for their kewda oil, but often industries fail on the human end of the planning processes.  Kewda flower water and oil are used in Indian pastries, but that small part of the yearly harvest will not, even coupled with the perfumery industry, be enough to keep the hundreds of distilleries going. 

Perhaps the growers and distillers should have come up with a plan B after the steel industry takeover failed.  They might have figured out ways to avoid being boxed into a threatening scenario such as the one they have now.

The gutkha practice sounds frightening, and perhaps the Indian government is wise stepping in, but I do hope they have some alternative plan for the kewda industry, because taking away the livelihood of thousands of people can be as damaging to the health of the affected people as gutkha is to the addicts.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, April 3, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

It's a hot and steamy day in Miami, the peach-scented frangipanis, Vietnamese gardenias, gardenias, white champaka and long-petaled jasmine, next to the Confederate jasmines, are blooming.  I'll be enfleuraging and tincturing all day, but will still love to answer your perfumery questions.

Oh, and once I sort through all the entries, write the respondent's names down, cut the paper with the name into strips, I'll choose the winners from the Guild- and ginger-helpful respnses this past week.  Well, one name will be selected because I like the name they've suggested for the non-fresh ginger. First, though, coffee!