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 could grow this tree!


  1. namaste anya!

    many budding perfumers feel the need for a recognizable "scent". which might allow for people to say "oh, that's an anya's garden creation!" (for example.)

    perhaps by using a consistent base... i suggest this might stifle creativity... to cut short the endless variations possible.

    does this ever ring true for you? is there a feeling to have a brand nature... or do you give into flights of fancy?

    or do you feel keeping consistent within a brand structure is more beneficial?

    much light & love as always, einsof

    ps: grow sweet garden grow!

  2. Hi Anya,
    So, I've been making perfume for a few years now, but I'm only just now getting around to really focussing on floral essences. I avoided them to some extent, partly because of the expense. My question is about using floral essences in perfumes that are not primarily florals. I understand that, as an example, one can use tiny amounts of various florals just to impart a 'perfumy' quality. Could you talk about this?

  3. Hi Einsof/anon:

    Many mainstream perfume houses go for a "signature" commonality in their perfumes, Guerlain and Hermes with JCE coming to mind.

    I don't find many niche natural houses do that, but I can sometimes detect a common scent thread in several houses. For my perfumes, for instance, florals. Rich, luscious florals. Pan, Temple, and my latest, that will be launched on the 28th, don't fit that bill, but many do. Still, all my perfumes smell distinctly different from one another.

    If a perfumer uses a base over and over, that is their choice. Perhaps their customers love it, or perhaps the perfumer finds it most adaptable and easy to use. Me? I'm excited by the newest thing to come along! For instance, when I discovered aglaia flower, which is like no other floral scent, I created a perfume, Light, around it. I find myself yearning to make a flanker of Light, which I will call Green Light - no kidding. I've found green aspects of the flower I wish to build upon.

    So, for my brand, that will be my first real flanker if I go ahead, but the commonality of central theme/scent will not proceed beyond that.

    PS my garden is bloomtastic, and sproutalicious. I'm so happy.


  4. Hi Fallah:

    I'm not sure how to proceed to advise you, because I believe that a great, or even a good perfume requires florals at least 90% of the time. There are some exceptions, of course, but florals are the first thing people think of when they think of perfumes.

    Making perfume is expensive. It is often years before a profit is seen, and florals do not have a huge impact on that statement - it's all the accessory costs, also.

    I'd advise you to proceeds with some excellent quality ylang ylang extra at first. It's one of the most affordable florals, and is used in many floral perfumes, even if it's not in a huge amount. It's used in Chanel No. 5 and many other floral perfumes. I'd start there, but sample from a lot of vendors first, to train your nose as to what a great ylang ylang extra is. You'll then move on to other florals, and contrast them against the ylang, an so on. Good Luck!

  5. Hi Anya,
    Thanks. The question was not about how to get away without florals, though. What I was asking was about the technique of using small quantities of floral essences to impart a 'perfumy' scent, or for whatever other reasons one might use micro doses of florals. From what I understand this is a normal perfume technique. Best,F

  6. Hi Fallah:

    Ylang Ylang is the #1 "go to" floral for "perfumey" scent, that's why I mentioned it. It's also the least expensive. After that, I recommend jasmine grandi and rose. Let me know as your perfumery pursuits go forward how you are using the florals and if you have any other questions, post here on Sundays.



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