Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, January 15, 2012 - until 10 PM EST

I'm very excited because tomorrow, Jan. 15, 2012, fourteen of the Guild associates, suppliers and perfumers will launch the Joy in January blog event!  Check back here and leave a comment when I post my first blog on Joy in January, and visit all of the other blogs, since we'll all be hosting giveaways of our naturally-scented products for three days.  Good luck!

I'll be here through 10 o'clock tonight, EST USA, to answer your questions about perfumery.  It's heartwarming each Sunday to see the stats of the loyal 300 or so visitors.  Y'all might not be posting, but I'm sure you're enjoying the questions and answers.  I've always been about the educational forum in natural perfumery, and this is just another facet of it.

Can I share a bit of fun as I move forward to Jan 28, a day that an "advisor" (read dictator) violated a written agreement?  Why a "bit of fun"? Because it feels so good to be out from under the thumb of an ogre.  You know that song that is on TV "You don't own me?"  I have some fun alternate lyrics that make me smile:  "You don't own me, I'm not one of your fawning toys, you don't own me, I'm not one of your bought-off pawns, you can't tell me what to do, you can't tell me what to say, and if my perfume classes site doesn't suit you, please just go away - no more screaming rants to hear, maybe on youtube the taped ones will appear..."

This sidebar appears because someone with the phone skills of Mel Gibson, replete with gasps for breath, guttural utterances and Yeti-like overbearance is now out of my life, and it's bringing me Joy this January.  Freedom. Sweet.


  1. Hello Anya, and thank you for offering this chance to learn. :)

    I am 'of an age' and have noticed that perfumes wear differently on me now. Commercial perfumes that used to last most of a day, or more, disappear in a few hours. Natural perfumes, whether ones that I've fiddled into being myself or bought elsewhere, usually go through the top notes in mere seconds, the middle notes almost as quickly and I'm left with basenotes. If there is oakmoss in the perfume, I can put it on and it will go straight to oakmoss.

    I'm wondering if this might be due to a complete lack of estrogen in my body chemistry (I can't take HRT), or dryer skin.

    Do you have any thought on this? Maybe how to remedy the problem?

  2. wow. Sounds aweful, I'm glad they are out of your life too.
    I will go on from here to reading your and others blogs. thank you for notifying.
    You had once recommended adding 10% alcohol to Ambrette seed EO to preserve, what is the rule for a CO2? should I add 10% alcohol to this as well? (or more or less?)

    and Citrusses, what do you do to stretch their shelf life? how often do you replace them?
    I know that the smell sort've fades with time, I'm not worried about that, it's a cheap oil and easy enough to replace, what worries me is the allergenic factor. how do I know when it has become dangerous to use?

    Thank you
    your generousity has and does and may it always inspire much generousity of information in this Natural Perfumery trade, and In all aspects of life.
    Be well

  3. Hi Anya,

    I was wondering why almost no one use FCO instead of jojoba for creation of oil perfumes. Is it such a big difference?

    1. Dear Ankica:

      Nice to see you back again and Happy New Year!

      Good question. I have never paid much attention to what oil or wax was used in solid perfumes, there are so many! I believe jojoba was known to many for years before they became of aware of FCO, it might just be that simple. Both are rather odorless, don't oxidize and are natural (the FCO coming from the natural process of fractional distillation). FCO is an oil, and with jojoba being a wax, perhaps the actual physical properties of the other oils/waxes being used dictates the choice.

      Ah, you got the typical Libran answer, giving all sides ;-)

      Oh, I just remembered how the cost of jojoba has skyrocketed in the past year, so that might also enter into the equation/recipe.


  4. Dear "anonymous"

    I have read about the perceived difference in wear-ability of perfumes on blogs and forums over the years. Aromatherapists attribute it to hormonal changes, but I think that's just anecdotal conjecture, as I'm not sure research backs it up.

    Have you asked others if they can perceive the perfumes on you after a few hours? You may find they say yes, and the fact you can't points to nose fatigue. Ever notice you enter a restaurant and the rich aromas are so noticeable and enticing? After sitting down in the restaurant for a few minutes the aromas are not so noticeable. Yes?

    Or, sad to say, with the oakmoss example, your receptors in your nose may be failing a bit, like when someone starts to go deaf they can't hear high (top) notes well. Have you had a bad cold or flu in the recent years that may have overtaxed your receptor sites?

    I wish you well and many more years of good sniffing! Maybe getting your nose checked out might be a option, but I don't know if they test for this sort of thing outside of a research hospital. Good luck.


  5. Hi Hemla:

    Yes, I am much better off without the person. Others warned me, but I thought I could handle her temper. Lesson learned.

    Yes, add the alcohol to the CO2 as well, and keep it refrigerated as well.

    About citruses - to hold off the peroxides forming, use the recommendations I posted earlier this year, which also give a wiggle room for the ambrette seed.

    >I did some further research since the first tocopheral post. I found an email from a respected UK aromatherapist in the archives of the NP group. She spoke of the need for high amounts of gamma t and she warned about overdosing with it, as it can have the reverse effect, i.e., causing oxidation rather than helping slow it.

    Then I quickly googled T-50, which is the stuff I've been using and found some great, more detailed info on a supplier/formulators site:
    I got my T-50 years ago from another supplier who gives much less info on the website, but imagine how happy I was to see the 60% gamma.

    Vit. E has been the standard quoted for many years. I am rather uneducated when it comes to the different types of Vit. E, and so when I found the gamma reference I added that. Research always provides new answers, nuances and such.

    About the alcohol amount: there is no figure set in stone, and I wonder at the variance in percentages given by Arctander for the EO created by the crushed seeds: "The oil should be stored in a 50% or 10%
    alcoholic solution at reduced temperature in order to prevent the appearance of rancid notes due to a possible decomposition of traces of fatty
    oils and acids in the essential oil (or in the absolute)." Many beginners read this, and other forums, and that variance in percentages could really muddy the waters.

    I prefer to err on the light side of things.

    It's the crushing of the seeds that releases the fatty oils and acids. I typically give a 10% topper of alcohol to my ambrette oil. I lowered it in my recommendation initially because I find that often folks get too generous with measurements, and then (oops!), truly upon waking from a nap, the truth came out. ;-)

    I do believe that 5% would be as good as 10%. I also believe that people producing their own tinctures of ambrette seeds, both with crushed and uncrushed seeds, it a wonderful way to go. Either way, the product will be rather immune to rancidity. I have luscious ambrette tinctures that are six years old, and some newer than that, and they're all glorious.

    To sum it up: use gamma t, preferably T-50, from 0.1 to 1.0%. That is a safe zone. With ambrette seed EO, 5 to 10%, no more, especially if you, like me, dilutes your aromatic down to 10% in alcohol for creating mods.<


    PS can't wait until you start my course soon!


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