Friday, June 29, 2012

Allured Books 30% off Summer Sale

SHARE with your perfumer and B&B friends - Allured Books is again offering a great discount to make your summer cool!
Read below:

SUMMER DISCOUNT: 30% through September 15, 2012
Coupon Code:anya30

All Alluredbooks including new ones below. A few sample pages on the title page (links below) will help youdecide if the book is right for you.

Of course - Arctander Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin- still in stock!

New Books: Coloring the Cosmetic World

Practical Modern Hair Science

Essential Oils Volume 9

Preservatives for Cosmetics (regulatory and preservatives may be of special interest.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, June 24, 2012 - until 10 PM EST

Take a break from your fun summer (or winter, if you're in the Southern Hemisphere) activities and Ask the Perfumer your questions about any aspect of perfumery.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nothing New Under the Sun: Adulteration of Essential Oils for Perfumery - Sophisticated Trickery

I was looking for vintage aromatics on eBay, and came across the ad, below. I didn't save the image, so I googled and found the one above.   It seems that the firm of Magnus Mabee and Reynard was sued for adulterating their oils in 1914, and they lost.  The history of the herb and spice trade, and then the essential oils/absolutes/attars trade have historically been rife with adulteration.  I learned about this when as an undergraduate, completing studies in economic botany I found out that the word "sophistication" had its roots in this price-gouging, false-advertising practice.  From 


adjective (after what you would expect, i.e., worldly), comes:

3.deceptive; misleading.

and sophisticate -

verb (used with object)
3. to make less natural, simple, or ingenuous; make worldly-wise.
4. to alter; pervert: to sophisticate a meaning beyond recognition. 

Here's the recent ad that sparked this blog post (note: it is no longer viewable on eBay):

Antique Early 1900's Bottle from Magnus, Mabee, and Reynard eBay 

Very RARE very early 1900's bottle This bottle is from the Magnus, Mabee, & Reynard company-Importers and Manufacturers in New York, U.S.A.

This is a 4 OZ Bottle       The label also says Purity and Strength      OIL CAJEPUT Tenth Revision
The bottle was made before the screw on caps and THE ORIGINAL CORK IS VERY MUCH INTACT!.
The history of Magnus, Mabee, and Reynard shows that they were sued in Federal Court "U.S. v. Magnus. Mabee, & Reynard" for adulterating their pure oils.
In court they pleaded guilty and were fined $150. I will include the paperwork. The suit covered the ADULTERATION AND MISBRANDING OF OIL
This is court document F.D. No. 3594 issued March 5th 1914. This bottle of Oil of Cajeput may or may not have been a part of this discovery of misbranding and adulteration
but I will include copies of the documents I found just for conversational sake and for a bit of the history of the company
Cool Bottle, Great Condition, UNIQUE History!

Cajeput is such an inexpensive oil, ditto rosemary.  Imagine the adulteration that can go on in expensive oils like rose, tuberose, etc.  We've all heard stories of s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d oils, tweaked and tinkered oils, and outright false advertising.  

This problem is particularly problematic for natural perfumers.  Not only do we have to source the highest grade/best smelling oils, we need to provide our customers and clients with a sense of security and trust that what they are buying is 100% natural.

The natural perfumer needs to train their nose, find reputable suppliers and work diligently to source 100% natural oils.  The recent trend towards buying 'blends' has me particularly concerned.  Whether an accord blend from a supplier, or a scent doppelganger, e.g., strawberry, raspberry, the chance of adulteration by a sophisticate is pretty high.  Hundreds of years of history have proven that the singular oils/herbs/spices are subject to adulteration, so premade compounds seem even more susceptible to this practice.  If the seller can't supply you with a COA (actually this might not cover compounds) or some sort of certified, sworn-to statement about the ingredients, DON'T BUY IT.  That's just me, and I'm really wary of sophisticates ;-)

What do you think? As a natural perfumer or customer, I'm hoping you are diligent and educated about this subject, and that you take care to avoid bunk oils/blends.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, June 17, 2012 - until 10 PM EST

Tahitian Gardenia

Vietnamese gardenia

The photos are of the Vietnamese and Tahitian gardenias growing in my front garden in Miami Shores.  I've been making enfleurage pomade from them, and it is heavenly!  I just added two new tiny varieties of the Tahitian gardenia to my collection - Heaven Scent.  They're double flowered!

My co-author and I are in the midst of writing all the extraction secrets up for my book, Perfume From Your Garden.  We're at opposite ends of the country, so we'll have most growing zones covered.

Today is Ask the Perfumer Sunday, and I'll be here until 10PM ET to answer your perfumery questions.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Natural Perfumery Group on Yahoo is Celebrating its Tenth Anniversary June 14, 2012

PRESS RELEASE:  June 14, 2012 (Miami Shores, Florida, USA)

On June 14, 2002, natural perfumer Anya McCoy founded the Natural Perfumery group on Yahoo!.  She had several goals in mind: promote the ideals of 100% natural perfume; establish files, links, databases, archives and other materials that would establish a strong educational foundation for members; and hold standards of friendly discussion and respect for other's ideas paramount to maintain a helpful, sharing group. The group now has over 2300 members, and those goals have been met and surpassed.

The Natural Perfumery group on Yahoo was founded on June 14, 2002 by Natural Perfumery icon Anya McCoy and is the largest perfumery group of its type worldwide.

The group website has been the center of the growth of the natural perfumery world during its dynamic growth phase of the past decade. Many novice natural perfumers were buoyed along by the camaraderie, the sharing of tips and solid advice and went on to launch successful perfumeries.

There are over 46,000 messages in the archives, and both new members and veterans use them to search if a topic has been discussed in the past, from rose oil to marketing, the archives are a rich source of information. In addition, there are photo albums that showcase the member’s perfume workshops, distillation experiments and flower-growing expertise.

In 2005, Anya took the bold step of establishing so that the artisan natural perfumers could have a web presence besides their own websites. It functioned as a search engine boost for them, and as a portal for interested consumers who were becoming interested in natural perfumery. Within a year that website evolved into the Natural Perfumers Guild, as Anya revived a defunct organization and brought organization, guidelines and the ability to have a functioning self-regulating association to natural perfumery businesses.

When Anya announced the upcoming tenth anniversary to the group members on June 7th, comments poured in from the international membership. Below are some of the comments:

“I have often checked out the messages of this web group when I've had perfume questions that have stumped me. I always find the answers so illuminating.” Susan

"I may not chat much but rest assured I read every single post and save them because they contain so much useful and up-to-date information regarding the Natural Perfume Industry. This is such a warm yet professional group and I am proud to be a part of it. Thank you for all that you do." Joyce

"Personally I love the fact that this group makes me feel, well no...lets me know, that I am not alone. The other thing I find invaluable is the threads about legislation and the unfairness of new regulations and Anya, you do such an amazing job when it comes to this...your work and that of other natural perfumers here is an inspiration to me and I am sure, to everybody else here." Marina

"This is the only forum that I even *try* to keep up with anymore. Thank you for providing a platform to discuss what those of us here love most - natural essences. Best wishes for continued success!" Sonsa

"Well, basically, this group has been my primary source of information on natural perfumery since I joined a couple of years ago. I have books and articles, but even those are ones that I found out about through this group. Another thing I absolutely love about this group is that it has put me in touch with some lovely perfumery people here in my own city! Funny that I might never have got to know them if it hadn't been for an international group." Johanna

"Anya - Congratulations on 10 years - what a herculean achievement! I have been lurking for a few years and am always reassured and re-motivated to keep plugging on with my artisan scents - working with natural materials is ever absorbing, evolving and inspiring - just like this group. It is so fantastic to have this resource and all the generous contributors who take time and effort to share their knowledge so generously. Thank you!" Tanya

"This is the only group that I keep on my main e-mail account because I want to read new e-mail immediately. There are great conversations and great people involved." Ankica

"I learned about this group several years ago and read every post. And while soaking up all this valuable information. Thank you to everyone on this list who shares information and encourages others." Sheree

"How far have we come as an industry in the past 10 years! I bet you've seen a lot of maturing and growth in that time! My favourite things about the group are how it connect me to other perfumers from across the world (its easy to feel isolated living in Australia as we are so far away from everyone else!), and also the technical information I can glean either by asking questions of the members, or by looking back at old files and posts." Liz

"Congratulates Anya on 10 years! Thank you for dedicating your efforts to fostering such a cohesive and knowledgeable community. Fiona

I absolutely love how helpful everyone is with answering questions and giving advice. We are all so fortunate to be part of such a wonderful, sharing community! Thank you Anya for creating a place for us to share our passion and thank you to the group for all of your generous help." Vikki

"I appreciate Anya's knowledge as well as everyone here. Congrats on 10 years, wow, just so amazing and impressive." Deb

"Every morning I sit down with my cup of coffee and read what everyone is
posting. Everyone here is so educated on the matter, it makes me feel even
more new to it all! I want to thank everyone for just being wonderful. Thank you
Anya for starting this group in the first place and thank you everyone
that participates regularly." Rachel

"The first years of my involvement with natural perfumes were very lonely. I knew very few people, who shared my passion, and I have researched
a lot on the Internet and stumbled on Anya's Yahoo Group.
So many people who constantly discuss all kinds of practical and
theoretical questions of natural perfumery! This is just class!" Angelika

"I have actually met, even shared good food and wine with some wonderful
people here in this group-from the US, Europe, Australia and even people
from my own city of Wellington, Aotearoa. Being a professional perfumer i
ts vital to keep up with new ideas and discoveries and this group certainly
provides a platform for these. I have enjoyed reading material from the
database and learnt from it. I've also enjoyed sampling others work- that's
really one of the best experiences, finding the personalities within!" Francesca

"Thank you. All your work is much appreciated by very many. There wouldn't
be half the perfumers there are without you." Perfumefiend

"Wow, congratulations on 10 years for this outstanding community! This has
been such an welcoming and informative group to be a part of. Happy Anniversary, and a huge thanks to all those who have shared so much over the years to make this group what it is." Michael

"I have learned so much from this group, from suppliers to packaging and on
and on, so much information given so generously from the members. Thanks
Anya and congrats for a great 10 years." Zee

"Aloha Anya & All - It is such an honor to me to be a part of this ever growing circle of like minds & kindred spirits... Wow, Ten Years!!! Congratulations should definitely begin with Anya for starting this group & her commitment to continue to nurture, grow, reach & exceed her goals for this group! We are all so very lucky!" gayle

The group's success is also due to the volunteer work of the moderators
who help with the behind-the-scenes management.
They include Elise Pearlstine, Patty West, Claire G (France), Chris Ziegler and Laura M.

All of the group's content is kept on a separate offsite hard drive so that the content may be saved for posterity.

Contact:  Gisele Cannon
Phone:  305-951-2134

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, June 10, 2012 - until 10 PM EST

I never can get enough of these tiny, highly-fragrant Aglaia odorata flowers!  They're blooming right now in hot, hot, humid Miami, and will bloom just about once a month.
The Ask the Perfumer forum is open for questions until 10 PM ET today.  Any question about perfumery, from raw materials to making tinctures, supplies, etc., is welcome.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Ask the Perfumer - Sunday, June 3, 2012 - until 10 PM EST

Tahitian gardenia in Anya's Garden
My Tahitian gardenia plant is flowering like crazy!  It's in its second year and really taking off.  I just got two tiny Tahitian gardenia *double* flowering plants that will be in the ground soon.

I'll be here until 10 PM ET tonight for any perfuming questions you have.  Stay cool - it's going to be way over 90F here today (Tahitian gardenia weather).

Friday, June 01, 2012

My First Love - The Sixth Anniversary of the Natural Perfumers Guild Blogging Event

Fan carved from sandalwood

Santalum album  -  even the botanical name is beautiful and strong.

If rose and jasmine are feminine, sandalwood is strongly, sexily, masculine.  All male. And I fell hard for “him” from the first sniff.  Here’s my decades-long love/lust story, and I’m sorry to say it might not have a happy ending.

Sandalwood Mala bead necklace
I didn’t get my first bottle of sandalwood oil until I was 18 or so.  I already had some patchouli, as it was the scent of choice for hippies, and if I had some oils from the racks in hippie stores, they’re long forgotten, and I now know they were probably synthetic.  One day I was helping someone unpack some imported goods in the back of the store, and some of the merchandise was from India.  There were lovely colorful glass beads strung into necklaces that were woven from brass wire. Then I found a packet of scented wooden beads made into jewelry.  I’ll always associate the glass green/aqua necklace and the crimson red one with my discovery of the sandalwood necklaces and bracelets, they’re tied in my memory into a colorful, scented mélange.

The sandalwood necklaces and bracelets stopped me in my tracks.  I never dreamed there was a fragrant wood that could be made into jewelry, but the main point is I adored the scent.  Immediately.  Totally. Unconditionally.  I wore them and sniffed them constantly for a long time, years, in fact, , and they were treasured and always nearby. The warmth of my skin would make the scent bloom, and I learned to softly sandpaper them to revive the scent-carrying cells of the wood.

But still, this was only a teaser.  I didn’t even know sandalwood oil existed.  We’re talking 1968 here, so forgive my ignorance.

About a year or so after I found the beads, I discovered that an old herbal apothecary in Philly carried sandalwood oil.  Penn Herb has been in business since 1924, and they had the real sandalwood oil, imported from India.  I remember my first bottle, a tiny 1/8 oz or so, and I treasured it.  For the next 20 years, Penn Herb was still my source for the oil, and no matter where I lived in the USA, I had it shipped to me, in larger quantities as my budget would allow.  

This soap was widely available back in the day - and smelled pretty good. It must have contained some real sandalwood, probably spent powder from the distillation process.

At one point, and now I wish I had taken photos – I had the bottles all lined up, and marveled at the slight differences in color between the various purchases. The darker colored ones I now realize were probably distilled in copper stills. I had a soft golden/amber array of the delicious sandalwood oil to visually enjoy, and a treasure I did not realize at the time, since I didn’t realize in the 70s and 80s that the trees were being overharvested and the oil would soon be scarce and very pricey.  I often slathered my arms in the oil, not realizing “he” was so precious and rare. How I squandered his riches!  My first love was in demand, and the demand turned scary.  Everyone wanted him, and there wasn’t enough to meet the demand.  
Price in Rupees

 I was already in love with the scent of the beads, but unprepared for the soft, creamy, sweet magnificence of the oil.  It was definitely a masculine vibe I got from the sandalwood oil, and I’d never before thought of a male or female aspect to an oil. There was some sweaty magnificence in the sandalwood, something sexually charged.  Years later I spoke with an aromatherapist who said on her first date with the man she would later marry, she yes, slathered herself with sandalwood oil for a day at a country fair.  At the end of the day, as they were saying goodnight, he admitted he was charmed by her “sweaty smell”!  She’s a quiet, reserved type, and immediately was a bit embarrassed, knowing she hadn’t been sweating, but it was a chemical component in sandalwood that he noted.

Sandalwood oil was the “go to” oil for all of my perfumes throughout the years.  It blends with everything, in the right amount.  My first love “plays well with others”. It was in the early 90s that I started to hear about shortages, guerilla warfare in the Mysore and Tamil Nadu regions and prices began to rise sharply.  Over the years, much has been written about the possible extinction of my first love, but I refuse to give in to those thoughts.

Yes, I’ve flirted with other sandalwood oils from different regions, and even different species, such as spicatum.  They’re for the most part, lovely, but not my first love.  I have a nice stash of Mysore aging and some of it goes into my perfumes.  A few years ago I even sold some to help spread the beauty of my first love among other natural perfumers, but I won’t sell any more.  

Guild member Trygve Harris was too busy to take part in this blog event, and anyway, I recently found out she and I share the same first love.  She blogged about it in 2010, and if you search her blog, you’ll find some of the most informative posts about sandalwood from someone who traveled to where he grew up, and who reports on the physical and political and economic forces at work in modern India. 

Today, sandalwood plantations are being established in an attempt to stave off the extinction of this glorious tree.  I found this great Facebook page, and I love some of the pithy, and also some of the touching posts there.

I hope his story does have a happy ending.  In the meantime, I have my memories and sweet dreams of sandalwood, my first love.

From the facebook page, a sad testimony to government mismanagement and squandering of my precious first love.....In the words of the farmers "All govts claim to be friends of farmers. With this kind of friends, farmers don’t need enemies.

First they force the farmers to sell their hard earned crops at throw away prices and then they waste the resource in this way.
Sandalwood powder leaking from bags, spilling onto ground and into water.

 Please visit the other Guild bloggers today to find out about their first natural aromatic love!