Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, October 30, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

We're discussing doppelganger lily of the valley accords in the Yahoo Natural Perfumery group.  I love that group!  When I started it in 2002, I never dreamed it would become the premier site to study natural perfumery on the Web, and a place where true friendship formed among the members.  It's organized as an educational group, with some rules about how you post, limited ads for approved vendors, and just tons and tons of information available.  We just passed over 45,000 messages in the archives, and we have an extensive Files section, downloadable vintage perfume books and much more.  So, if you can't get your question answered here, and you're just itching to find out more about massoia bark on a Wednesday, the Yahoo Natural Perfumery group is the place for you.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, October 23, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

Let's talk about terroir - really limited terroir.  Do you grow zinnias?  I've grown them since childhood because I love their big, colorful flowers and how they're "cut and come again" - that means, the more you cut the flowers, the more you get!  It resprouts flowers from the cut stem, which gives you a rewarding, ongoing harvest.

About 35 years ago, while visiting the long-gone, much-lamented Magic Dragon store in Westwood, I discovered zinnia oil.  Most of the oils sold at the Magic dragon were 100% natural.  The zinnia oil came from India.  It was warm, honeyed, richly floral and just magnificent.  I was confused because the zinnias I had always grown had no scent.

I'm convinced now that most zinnia oils are at least partly synthetic, but here's the strange part: I once put the vial of zinnia oil under the nose of a scientist I knew, and challenged him to name the oil.  He immediately said zinnia!  I was shocked.  He said that's what zinnias smelled like where he grew up, in Kansas.

Oh, if only they smelled like that here in Miami, I'd grow a field!  Do zinnias smell wonderful where you live?  I'm searching for some growers - Kansas is first on my list!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

e-Book Review: Essential Living by Aromatherapist Andrea Butje

Essential Living
Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home 113 pages
Aromahead Institute
Andrea Butje

Andrea Butje, instructor at the Aromahead Institute and longtime legend in the aromatherapy (AT) community, has released Essential Living Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home,  an e-book that is a treasure for those who love to use essential oils and hydrosols.  Andrea's basic research on fragrant, earth-easy ways to incorporate essential oils into your life makes Essential Living a must-have. I keep it on my desktop so I can open it quickly when I need some tips. 

I really appreciate the comprehensiveness of the topics covered in the 15 chapters:

1. Introduction to Aromatherapy / 3
2. Your Essential Oil Tool Kit / 8
3. Basic Aromatherapy Applications / 14
4. The Kitchen / 20
5. The Bathroom / 24
6. Beauty and Skin / 29
7. Medicine Chest / 41
8. The Living Room / 53
9. The Bedroom / 62
10. Caring for Kids / 69
11. The Office / 80
12. Patio and Outdoor Spaces / 87
13. Travel / 93
14. Emotional Well Being / 100
15. Aromatic Indulgences / 105
Appendix: Resources
The Author

Everything is laid out for you in a clear, beautifully illustrated manner.  Once you breeze through Andrea's basic Introduction to Aromatherapy (most of us can use a bit of a refresher on the subject, or maybe you're a complete novice to AT) you can quickly scan to a subject you desire more info about.  Those who travel a lot will appreciate the Travel section.  You'll find the introduction to that chapter pretty much sums up what you need to consider when travelling, and then the items are covered, one page to each topic.

For example, first there are tips on boosting your immune system so you can better fight off strange microbes, then anxiety relief, hand sanitizer, crowded spaces immunity inhaler, hotel linen spray and travel salve for your skin.

Staying at home or working in your office is covered, too, of course.  You'll get instructions on how to set up your essential oil kit, and how to use the EOs and hydrosols in your kitchen, bathroom, for medicine, caring for your kids - and something I never thought of, but Andrea did - patios and outdoor spaces.  We both live in Florida, and outdoor living is year-round here, so I particularly appreciate this chapter. To round out the topics, Andrea makes sure we take care of ourselves with the Emotional Well Being chapter and who can resist Aromatic Indulgences?
Click the image to enlarge

The one thing I might suggest that Andrea include for the second edition?  Cooking and Beverages made with essential oils and hydrosols!  I've been cooking and making drinks with essential oils since 1978 and using hydrosols in food and drink since 1989 (the May 1989 rose hydrosol from Turkey).  Aromatherapy for the taste buds - dill weed, cilantro - yum! Andrea, we've got to talk :-)

The book is beautifully illustrated with relevant images to reinforce the topic being covered. Being an e-book, you'll find that you can load it onto a device and take it with you wherever you are, making it very convenient.

Andrea provides an info-paced appendix to help you source many of the items mentioned in the book, and links to some professional organizations for those who are inclined to look deeper into aromatherapy after reading this book.

The e-book is reasonably priced at $19.95 and once downloaded, you'll find that you're immediately immersed in the easy recipes and great tips. I know you'll have as much fun as I did quickly making up some blends, and transforming your household and office cleaning routines while lowering your stress level and heck, smelling great at the same time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, October 16, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

Just harvested a bunch of pink lemons from my tree, and will be harvesting the leaves for a petitgrain distillation.  It's so much fun growing fragrant materials and transforming them into usable products for my natural perfumerie.  I hope you can do this, on some level.  Perhaps you can't grow plants because you live in an apartment, but you can buy freeze-dried raspberries or other fruits and tincture them!  Let's talk about natural perfume and feel free to ask any question on any subject.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New and Renewing Natural Perfumers Guild Members

We have a lovely list of renewing and new Natural Perfumers Guild members. Please welcome our new members:


Clemence Barbier – Dame Clemence - Associate
Claire Lautier – Friend
Heather Tobin – Friend
Rose Tellier - Friend
Viveca Göcke – Friend
Pat White - Friend

And warm thanks to our renewing members:

Roger Howell – Alpha Aromatics - Supplier
Claire Martin-Garrigue Iriodes - Associate
Christine Ziegler – A Little Olfactory - Supplier
Nancy Brooks – New England Natural Soaps - Associate
Christi Meshell – House of Matriarch - Perfumer
Leyla Bringas – LunaAroma- Perfumer
Liz Cook – One Seed – Perfumer
Alexandra Balahoutis – Strange Invisible Perfumes – Perfumer
Dr. Benita Aufinger – Friend
MJ Simon - Friend
Elise Pearlstine - Belly Flowers Perfumes - Perfumer

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, October 9, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  It's almost as if it's a new year, with new beginnings and a fresh start on projects.  Do you feel the same?  I just launched one perfume, and I have one in the works for a late-November project, and yesterday I began to muse about another.  Have you found your perfume-making spirit stirring?  If you have any questions, I'll be here to answer them for you until 10 PM EST.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, October 2, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

It's going to be a "cool" day in Miami now that the cold front has moved through - high only up to 85F!  That means I'll be in the garden a lot, starting seeds for the veggie garden.  Most of my aromatics are in bloom, so it's going to be a fragrant day, too.  Feel free to ask any of your perfume-creation related questions until 10 PM.

If you'd like a chance to win a 15ml spray bottle of my latest release, Royal Lotus, please visit Cafleurebon before Oct. 4th and leave a comment to be in the draw.  There are nine other Guild perfumers in the Brave New Scent project that are reviewed on Cafleurebon and other websites, and you'll have a lot of chances to win one of these beautiful perfumes. Good luck!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Natural Perfumers Guild Fleur Awards - a surprise launch during Brave New Scents project

The Natural Perfumers Guild Fleur Awards 2011 

We are keeping the final design for the Fleurs under wraps until next year, and the following recipients will receive their physical awards at that time, and receive printed certificates at this time.

Several Guild members and myself kept this surprise announcement of the Fleur Awards under our hats for several months, and it was hard to do!  We will have a much-expanded awards ceremony next year, but the logical tie-in with our Brave New Scents project demanded that we select two of the most innovative, ground-breaking members and present them with the first Fleurs.  The two members have devoted much of their careers to distilling aromatics, a big step forward for perfumers in modern times, when most perfumers rely on suppliers for their raw materials.  The October 1, 2011 Guild Brave New Scents project highlights natural aromatics of the 21st Century, and both recipients of the award are pioneers that have stepped up and created their own distillates for their businesses, and, by doing so, have encouraged many of us to do the same.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Jeanne Rose - of the Aromatic Plant Project

From the Aromatic Plant Project website: The Aromatic Plant Project is an educational organization and assists people in finding the correct essential oil and hydrosol distillers and distillation equipment for their needs. We are a non-profit educational organization here to support American Agriculture and its natural products. 

Jeanne Rose is a valued Associate member of the Natural Perfumers Guild, and she is respected for her long career as an aromatherapist, author, educator and public works on behalf of natural aromatics and healing.  She certainly was a Brave New Soul in the 1960s when she began her studies of herbalism and natural healing, and published one of America's seminal herbal books.  Herbs and Things was her first book about using herbs to heal, and aromatic plants for pleasure.  A few years later her first books on aromatherapy were published.  Her work with distilling aromatic and healing plants, and holding classes to educate the public on this art have combined to create a place for her in American history, because she was the first in modern times to accomplish such projects.  She led the way for many of us to take up distilling, reviving a lost fragrant skill and adding to our artisan natural perfumeries.  Jeanne teaches many courses, from herbalism to natural perfumery to aromatherapy, and travels the country giving seminars and workshops on these subjects.

Congratulations, Jeanne, there is no person more deserving of a
Lifetime Achievement Award from us!


21st Century Innovator

Alexandra Balahoutis of Strange Invisible Perfumes

It's coincidental that Alexandra Balahoutis started her 100% botanical perfumerie in 2000, the year that the Brave New Scents project selected as a starting point for all that is new and wonderful in our natural perfumery world. 

Members of the Guild took notice last year when Alexandra had a Company Retreat Day to distill botanicals for her perfumerie. Neroli was distilled that day, along with pink peppercorns and oranges and other fragrant beauties.  This link will work if you are on Facebook.  Alexandra also commissions distillers around the world to produce essential oils for her. She may be the first self-sufficient natural perfumer because of her desire to be in control of her raw materials, something we artisans can aspire to in the 21st Century.  

Alexandra Balahoutis of Strange Invisible Perfumes

Alexandra Balahoutis, Innovator and Perfumer, is awarded a Fleur for her groundbreaking work as someone who is determined to take control of the most basic raw materials - the essential oils - and by doing so, guarantees that the best and most beautiful aromatics will be the inspiration and fulfillment of her perfumes.

From left to right: neroli, pink peppercorns and orange flowers/oranges/orange tree leaves. From Strange Invisible Perfumes Company Distillation Retreat in Ojai, CA, Apr. 23, 2010


We are currently conducting a poll among Guild members to select the flower to represent the Fleur Awards and so far the rose is winning by 60%. Jasmine, tuberose and gardenias are also getting votes, and the winning flower will be announced October 15. 

Brave New Scents - A Natural Perfumers Guild Project - Royal Lotus Perfume from Anya's Garden

The Outlaw Perfumers are honoring the aromatics of the 21st Century

Nothing says innovation like using materials that are cutting edge. We realized that many new aromatics had been brought to market since the year 2000 - things like lilac CO2, gardenia absolute, aglaia flower and many more.  Also appearing were previously-unknown to the artisan niche community of perfumers fragrant beauties like linden flower CO2, wild rose absolute and yuzu essential oil.  

Many of the perfumers in the Guild, myself included, were making fragrant tinctures of rare and stunning aromatic materials, from freeze-dried strawberries to obscure jasmines.

So, what's an Outlaw Perfumer to do? Gather those lovelies, and include materials like lotus absolutes, which weren't used by traditional perfumers, but were in use in India for many years, and create some Brave New Scents, unfettered by IFRA.

My muse was ancient India, brought into the present, once again (remember Kewdra from the Mystery of Musk project)?  I chose pink and blue lotus and the extrememly rare night queen absolute (aka Night-blooming jasmine, Cestrum nocturnun) for my heart.  Night queen absolute is so rare, this perfume may be, due to lack of any more NQ absolute coming to market, a very limited edition.

My Royal Lotus perfume is a 21st Century-specific design, containing only one wildcard from the 20th Century, a particularly glorious clementine essential oil.

I realized as I was making modifications on the blue and pink lotuses, that several of my aromatics had royal names associated with them, so I changed the name from Purple Lotus to Royal Lotus.  It is a sweet and beguiling perfume, with a citrus cocktail opening that evolves into a slightly smoky rich and luxurious floral. The smoke dissipates, and a seamless floral extravaganza unfolds for hours. The sandalwood, tonka and ambergris base is lush and smooth, like the feel of  a royal silken garment.

 A slight spray of this unctuous perfume in your hair will reward you with at least 24 hours of floral and coumarinic, sandalwoody pleasure.

Top notes:

Wild orange from the Dominican Republic
Yuzu from Korea
Orange Juice EO from Brazil
Clementine from the USA (my 20th Century wildcard)

Heart Notes:

Blue Lotus Absolute from Thailand
Blue Lotus concrete from India
Pink Lotus concrete from India
Queen of the Night absolute(Cestrum notcurnum, aka night-blooming jasmine) from India
Queen of the Night tincture from my garden
Jasmine grandiflorum aka the King of Jasmines tincture from my garden
Jasmine sambac Grand Duke of Tuscany tincture from my garden
Orange Flower tincture from my garden

Base Notes:

Sandalwood from Australia
Ambergris absolute from Utah
Tonka bean absolute from France

Please visit my store to take advantage of special prices for Royal Lotus through October 15, including only $60 for my 10-sample set, with a sample of Royal Lotus included free.  The 3.5ml perfume and 15ml spray EdP are reduced in price also.  I know you will love this perfume, it has a zesty citrus top, a seamless and velvety heart, and a soft, sensual base.

Please visit the other participating sites for this project, and enjoy your journey through some Brave New Scents!