Showing posts from April, 2012

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, April 29,2012

Last week James posted a question that stumped me.  I attempted a weak answer about "why isn't there any rosa centifolia essential oil?" Rosa centifolia photo from Aromatics International - where they sell the hydrosol of this rose I asked three experts to help me, and they quickly came to the rescue: Andrea Butje of Aromahead is one of those experts who is humble enough to say when something is outside of her area of knowledge: Hi Anya, Nice to hear from you! I *imagine* that it is because the flower petals are too delicate to withstand the heat of a distillation. That may be why it is produced only as an absolute. Must be the damascena flowers are stronger. But not being a distiller or expert on distilling roses, I can not be totally sue. Maybe ask a rose distiller? How about Alain at Florihana. He is amazing. So I asked Alain of Florihana and he offered this expert information:   Bonjour Anya, There is no essential oil availab

Smells Like a Winner: Jasmine improves batting averages

Well, there is some room for fun double entendres.  After all, isn't jasmine associated with lusty romance, the scent known to entire the opposite sex (no matter what sex you are!)? So when I read this article, well, yes, my mind went there. The only problem I have is with the fact that Dr. Hirsch, who is well-known for his aromatic sensory studies (remember the findings that men find lavender and pumpkin spice arousing - that was his study) is that it's never clear if he using true, natural aromatics or synths.  Are we to believe he use pricey jasmine grandiflorum?  If not, and a well-paid ball player wanted "the real stuff", believing it would give him an advantage over his synth-sniffing opponents, would he try to source from reputable suppliers?  I guess the analogy of replacing steroids in the story shows parallels of a sort :-) Oh, and the photo below. Priceless! "Jasmine makes me bite my bat".  Please, stop me, I can't help myself, LOL. http

Are you as cold and flu free as me? Could it be the natural perfume materials you use, either through inhalation or ingestion? Inquiring perfumers want to know!

I want to thank Christopher of White Lotus Aromatics for bringing the passage from Chapter XXL (quoted below) from George William Askinson's book Perfumes and their Preparation (1892) to my attention. Christopher added a link to this part of Askinson's book to his Facebook feed, and I wanted to quote it here, because this passage from Askinson's book shows that the antimicrobial value of airborne essential oils were recognized as killing the bugs for many centuries.  When I tell people I haven't had a cold or flu since December 1970 - yes, 1970 - they are shocked.  For many years, I told them that I think my use of fresh herbs and essential oils in my food and drinks built up my immune system.  EOs are fabulously anti-microbial, and many aromatherapy/medical research studies have documented that fact.  The studies, however, mostly address the inhalation or ingestion of oils after an affliction occurs, and do not speak of addressing the strengthening of the immune

Anya's Garden Perfumes - Module 1 of the Natural Perfumery Institute's basic course

A main element of the basic natural perfumery course from the Natural Perfumery Institute is the intent to bring the student a strong foundation in all aspects of perfumery.  Below is a sample of one of the technical reports known as a GC - gas chromatograph.  The basic course does not go far into the reading of such a technical report, as that requires much more in-depth study to be able to interpret.  Being aware of such reports, and knowing some of the basics of it, and why it is valuable, is covered. Example: 1.12:  Forms, Sheets, and Charts for Module 1                                                        Organoleptic Evaluation Forms                                                                                Organoleptic Evaluation Form - Sample                                                               Organoleptic Evaluation Form                                                                              Aromatic Lexicon                             

Golden Boronia absolute sale - for Anya's Garden Perfumes newsletter subscribers only

Dear readers: you have until midnight tonight, Apr 23, to sign up.  Alert for those who love beautiful natural aromatics: this week I'm going to have an incredible sale on golden boronia absolute. IF you can find it elsewhere, the price is much, much higher than what I'll be offering the 4mls for. This will be offered to my newsletter subscribers only, so please sign up at:

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, April 22, 2012

Have you planted fragrant plants in anticipation of using them for tinctures, distillation or another means of extraction.  I have this pricey butane extraction unit that I was given to play around with, but I need a source of PURE butane before I can use it.  Anybody in the South Florida area know of one? Acme Gas doesn't carry it.  I'd love to use the butane extractor, but I'll settle for any of the above processes in the meantime.  If you have any perfumery questions this Sunday, I'll be here until 10 PM EST USA to help.

Rangoon Creeper - a new flower for perfumery

Last year Trygve of Enfleurage asked me if I was growing Quisqualis in my fragrant garden.  She knew I grew and harvested fragrant flowers leaves and roots for scent extraction.  The distillations, tinctures and enfleurage washes are made from my garden bounty and find their way into my perfumes.  At first the name didn't register, then I remembered Rangoon Creeper, a vine that is almost a weed here in South Florida. It can spread aggressively, covering trees and buildings! I decided to give it a try, on a length of fence on the far side of my property, a place that doesn't get any supplemental irrigation.  Within one year, the vine is about 25' long, and is setting out spreader branches in several directions.  I'll prune it to keep in check, and in the meantime, I'm enjoy the nighttime/early morning fragrance of the thousands of flowers blooming.  I'm growing the single-flowers variety, and there is a double-flowered variety available.  The double-flowered va

From The Vintage Vault - An Art Deco beauty from Devilbiss c. 1927

This is the first perfume bottle I ever purchased as a collectible.  I was living in Syracuse, New York and was a student.  I couldn't resist this Devilbiss black and chrome Art Deco beauty, and I have cherished it from the day I obtained it.  It's traveled from Syracuse to Tampa, to Philadelphia, to Naples (FL) and then Fort Lauderdale and eventually to Miami.  It now resides on the upper right shelf of my new perfume display cabinet.  It only cost $12, but it is priceless and irreplaceable to me.  From research, I believe it was made in 1927. A triptych view of my Devilbiss:

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dear Friends: I'm back hosting "Ask the Perfumer" every Sunday, after a few weeks off due to the death of my mother.  Life changes can be traumatic, but also a look towards a future that, if you're a  positive person like myself, holds many wonderful possibilities.  I didn't blend at all the past five or six months, because of my energies being channeled towards my mother, but I now feel renewed and will soon be back to making mods, challenging myself with the direction the perfume takes, and otherwise being engaged in all things related to natural perfumery, education, and the Guild. I'd love to again start receiving your perfume-making queries, so I'll be here until 10 PM EST (USA).

Perfume Bottle Necklace - Good Idea or Bottle Half Empty?

An industrial designer has come up with an interesting concept: jewelry as a perfume bottle.  I like that the little sprayer is in the necklace.  I don't care for the modern, stark design, but that's subjective.  I can see one big flaw in this design.  The original concept is good, but as you use the perfume, the amount in the "jewel" piece goes down, as it would in a bottle.  Might not be so attractive then.  That's one reason I never added necklaces with glass pendants to hold perfume.  To me, it would just look strange to have a half-full pendant.  Do you agree?

The State of Natural Perfumery 2012 - a Collaborative Writing Project

Several natural perfumers and the owner of a natural perfume company joined me in writing "The State of Natural Perfumery 2012" for Basenotes. It's fascinating and enlightening to see everyone's individual take on our fragrant art. I hope you enjoy this unique, collaborative effort. content/ 1154-The-State-of-Natural-Perfu mery-2012

Frankincense Friday - Little Frankie is leafing out after waking up from his dormant period

On December 19, 2011, I wrote about the arrival of my little frankincense tree.  Click here to read and see the photo.  Even for a dormant tree, Little Frankie looked pretty poorly.  The heat pack that he was shipped with torched his growing tip, and fried his few remaining leaves.  I potted him up in a cactus soil mix, put him on my kitchen windowsill and watered him with about a teaspoon of filtered water once or twice a week.  I'm sure my housekeeper thought I was overly optimistic, as he looked like a bare, dead twig. On March 18, Jeanne Rose wrote to me via my Anya's Garden Perfumes group on Facebook, asking how my tree was doing, as she believed hers, purchased at the same time, was dead.  Later that day I observed Little Frankie starting with the tiniest of leaves flushing out, and told Jeanne to have patience, perhaps her tree would come out of dormancy, too. I had been cautiously optimistic, because the dead tip, also the site of the apical meristem in the plant,