Showing posts from November, 2011

Natural Perfumers Guild project - The 13th Sign - An Astrological Mystery Revealed

Flora, our Guild muse, is surrounded by stars as she holds the fragrance that represents the 13th astrological sign, Ophiucus.  Flora last held the modernistic scents of the 21st Century perfumes of the Guild's Brave New Scents Project, and now finds herself sent back to prehistoric, primordial times.  Flora is cool, she is unflappable to the Mystery of Musk, the Outlaw Perfumers didn't faze her, and we love that she moves through time and scent with us. It was into the stars, and the night sky, when the constellations are visible that we ventured, and here is my take on the inspiration of Ophiucus. 13th Sign Project – Ophiucus – Natural Perfumers Guild Nov. 28, 2011 White Smoke – The First Perfume of Anya’s Garden’s Prima Aroma Line When Michelyn Camen, the Editor-in-Chief of the Ca Fleure Bon blog approached the Natural Perfumers Guild with the idea of blogging about the almost-forgotten 13th astrological sign, Ophiuchus, (Pronounced as OFF-ee-YOO-kuss) I immediately s

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, November 27, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

Looks so sweet, yes?  Smells like s**t at night. Jasminum auriculatum.  Harvest during the day for tincture or enfleurage.  Obviously! I have lots to do in the garden today.  I'm repainting the ironwork post by the front door.  Since the jasmine auriculatum was dug up and planted by the back fence, I'm readying the post for a jasmine grandiflorum plant. The auric was a little too fecal smelling at night! Not a nice greeting for visitors, LOL.  Plus, the more delicate foliage of the grandi will lighten up the spot.  That post is the one I'm posing by  in the photo, and I'll take a new one next spring when the pruned grandi has a chance to grow up. Oh, and I'll also be transplanting lots of veggies into the garden out back.  Collards, cabbage, tomatoes, lettuces, parsley, thyme, mint, zinnias, etc.,etc.  We're having beautiful weather, so it will be enjoyable. The j. auric foliage was just starting to fill in here.  It became a thick mass of dark leaves.  I

I'm a Hopeless Perfume Romantic - The Cup Half Full Type

The first Acacia farnesiana - Cassie - flower to bloom in Anya's Garden. I got the first acacia flower today on my young tree.  Acacia farnesiana is the source of beautiful cassie absolute, and I'm already planning a harvest that will yield me a usable raw material for my perfumery - hence the hopeless romantic/cup half full type.  I have to be to see all that in this one tiny flower.  Cassie absolute is a prized perfume ingredient, and it can be fractionally distilled to yield alpha ionone, a natural isolate that smells like violet flowers. It is supposed to bloom winter through spring, so this is the start of my first cassie enfleurage.  I'm preparing a little enfleurage container for the flower, and I'll add the others as they bloom.  I'll have to use leather gloves to harvest them, as the tree is very thorny.  Oh, and I'm going to trim the tree down into a big bush, probably 7' x 7', much like my ylang ylang.  This is necessary to harvest the flow

Warning: Natural Perfume Isolates - what is natural and what is not?

(ETA:  Since this was published a few hours ago, a great discussion has started on the two private Yahoo groups maintained for Natural Perfumers Guild members.) This message was sent to the members of the Natural Perfumers Guild via our private discussion group, and I am posting it here for others to read: I *know* I opened up a can of worms when I blogged that I was going to teach a course in natural isolates.  I'm the first USA-based natural perfumer to use them, and I thought I could share what I knew with everyone.  Some of you may remember back to April 2010, when I announced that I, along with some colleagues, would be teaching a natural isolates course as part of my Anya's Garden Natural Perfumery Institute.  Someone I don't know started teaching a course shortly after that, and many perfumers struck out on their own with the excitement of incorporating these "new" elements into their perfumes. I had

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

 Ask the Perfumer is open for questions.  To give you some inspiration, here are some photos from this morning: Another wet day in Miami - I thought we had started our dry season, but I'm not complaining.  Every dry that flows into our aquifier and replenishes our supply is welcome.  I wasn't ambitious enough to walk out in the front garden yet, since I still need some more coffee and a change of shoes, but I wanted to share the fragrant vision that lies outside my front door. At the end of my driveway is a HUGE jasmine azoricum vine in full flower that covers a hibiscus bush underneath!  It must measure 10' high by 15' wide, and you can see it's full of flowers.  The candlestick like branches in the foreground are my deciduous frangipani tree.  The little bush between them is Tahitian gardenia.. A nice fragrant quintet of plants. The tiny, tiny yellow aglaia flowers are filling the front garden with their beautiful scent.  I'll be harvesting tod

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, November 13, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

Brian, a member of the 2,200 member Natural Perfumery group on Yahoo, is helping organize our monthly meetings in Miami.  If you're reading this, and are in the South Florida area, please leave a message on with your email and phone number to be on our list. When we have these meetups, you'll be able to ask me any perfumery questions, and I'll be bringing fragrant plants (or just the flowers) from my garden, rare essences and perhaps a book or to to look over. Gardening season is in full swing, and I will be bringing galangal roots to grow, some ylang ylang flowers to sniff, and more.  If you want South Florida gardening tips, I can offer those, too. In the meantime, feel free to leave any question here on Ask the Perfumer Sunday. Ylang Ylang flowers are different stages of maturation in Anya's Garden of Perfume, Miami PS I forgot to post a notice about my Nov. 4th blog on my ylang ylang tree blooming.   I wish everyone cou

Plum Granny Muskmelon - natural room fragrance

I read about this very fragrant apple-size muskmelon several years ago, and I finally got around to getting some seeds so I can grow it.  They're germinating in starter pots and I'll transplant them in a few weeks.  They'll need some support to grow up for optimum yield, so I'm clearing out some Delicious Monster vines by the fence. (more about them in a future post) The flesh is insipid, so it's not an eating melon, but oh, the descriptions I've read about the rind!  Rich, diffusive melon sweet honey pretty.  That's enough for me!  Just two can fragrance a room for several days.  Victorian ladies, who called this Queen Anne pocket melon, would carry one in a pocket so fragrance the air around them.  I got my seeds from Southern Seed Exchange. I, of course, intend to tincture the rinds and make a fragrant melon-scented extract. Do you grow any unusual fragrant plants?  I'd love to hear about them, so please leave a comment.

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, November 6, 2011 - until 10 PM EST

I'll be in the garden today, planting more vegetables, herbs and flowers, but I'll check in periodically to answer your perfume questions. Planted yesterday: Seeds:  red carrots, scallions, two types of zinnias, sweet peas, purple alyssum, Spanish pimento, Tigerella tomatoes, romaine lettuce, more I can't remember right now.  Lots! Today my gardener will be bring by the very fragrant flowering plant yesterday, today and tomorrow, and the tropical lilac, with highly fragrant leaves that smell like tobacco and spice.

My Ylang Ylang Perfume Tree is Blooming

My first photo of my first ylang flower in the hot, bright Miami sun. Ylang ylang trees can quickly and easily grow to 40' in Miami.  That is the major reason I put off growing one for so many years.   Then I read that in Madagascar, where the trees are grown for their fragrant flowers, which are a major economic resource for the perfume industry, are kept pruned to six to 10 feet so the flowers are easy to harvest.  So, about a year and a half ago I planted a tiny four foot tree and have had to prune it so it's now about 7' tall. The young green blooms are cute!  However, their scent is very weak, so they can't be harvested yet. Ylang ylang trees bloom in the Autumn, I read, but friends who have visited Fairchild gardens report they can bloom year round.  Friends who have them growing in their neighborhoods, not their own lots (since they're so big and can overwhelm a city lot) couldn't recall what time of year they bloomed.  I furth