Wednesday, May 30, 2012
But the oil! As soon as I put it on a strip to test, the whole room filled with the most wonderful sweet, fruity sillage. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever smelled. Close up it has a bit of a camphorous, herbal, foody note, but even when my nose is right up next to it, it’s accompanied by the fruity smell, almost like taffy, but better. If I had to characterize the fruit notes, I’d say they’re like a fair amount of fresh blueberry, a little fresh guava, and something else fruity but unique. Of course I immediately got all excited about basing an all-natural perfume on cape may, but my enthusiasm was dampened a little when I discovered that the fruity sillage is a top note that doesn’t last all that long, drying down to an herbal, camphorous base that is also fairly short-lived. In the end, I don’t think I can build a fragrance around cape may, but, it will still be an interesting top-note addition to one of my all-natural fragrances
As usual, I’m offering a sample of this oil to one reader who leaves a comment saying what your favorite fruity perfume notes are. The random drawing will be on Sunday, June 3.
[Plant photos from Wilimedia]
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Speaking of pollen, one of my memorable experiences from living in North Carolina was a thunderstorm that blew in while I was walking across campus. All of a sudden the wind started blowing hard, black clouds rolled in, and the whole sky took on an eerie yellow-greenish hue. There was a distinctive “Isotox” smell in the air. I thought, “OMG, it must be a tornado coming!”, but it wasn’t. It turned out that the local pine trees were putting out so much pollen that it had formed the equivalent of a dust storm, filling the air and forming a pollen cloud that rolled across the landscape. Bizarre.
Anyway, I suppose the bottom line is that if I wanted to make a pollen note for perfumery it would be a mixture of the minerally smell of fertilizer/pesticide and the sweet smell of beeswax. I hope no one would be allergic to it!
[Photo of bumblebee on Ajuga is mine; photos of pollen cells in honeycomb and pollen closeup are adapted from Wikimedia]
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Those cherry blossoms that I posted just last week are now medium size green cherries, well on their way to being the ripe fruits in the photo. How quickly they grow up!
I loved all of the comments about your mothers, their relationship to perfume, and how so many of them loved gardening. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012
In celebration of Mother’s Day 2012, I would like to wish all mothers out a happy year to come. In memory of my own mother, who died last fall, I am offering a drawing for a 7.5 ml spray bottle of Siam Proun in parfum concentration, the perfume that I made especially for her, and which won one of Cafleurebon’s “Best Releases of 2011” awards.
To be entered in the drawing, please leave a comment about your own mother and whether or not she used perfume. The drawing will take place on Sunday, May 19.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Cymbopogon is a large genus of grasses that were originally native to old world tropical regions, especially India and Africa, but are now widely cultivated throughout the world. It includes lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), which is commonly used in cooking, gingergrass (Cymbopogon martinii), palmarosa (a variety of C martinii), and citronella grass, sometimes called giant turpentine grass (Cymbopogon nardus). Both C martini and C nardus are used as insect repellants.
In the DevilScents, I used African bluegrass to lend the scent of a bed that’s been the scene of much activity, and to enhance the impression of well-worn leather, which is especially hard to duplicate using all natural materials. In combination with a little sandalwood absolute, it gives amazing tenacity.
I have to say that my feelings about writing this are mixed, since I wouldn’t want every perfumer in the world to jump on the African bluegrass bandwagon. However, despite the good news that this is a wonderful material to work with, the bad news is that it’s hard to find and relatively expensive. I suppose in the end, it’s worth spreading the word if demand for Cymbopogon validus were to become great enough to promote increased production and availability of the oil, which theoretically should be no harder than lemongrass to grow and distill.
Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing to win a sample of African bluegrass oil and a sample of one perfume in which I used it. The drawing will be on Wednesday, May 16.
[African bluegrass photo from Plant Database; couple in bed by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1893]
Friday, May 11, 2012
I think some people find the idea of 19 samples at one time overwhelming anyway, so I hope this separation into categories will help those who want to try a limited number of fragrances at a time. I’ll still offer the complete 1 ml sample pack and the old deluxe sample pack, at least for a while.
I’m going to be adding the new spray sample packs to the website over the next few weeks, starting with an All Orchids pack, Scents of Place, and The Perfumer’s Perfumes. I’m also thinking of adding a “masculine” pack and an all-natural pack. Eventually there may even be a DevilScent pack.
The other change that’s coming round is in the small perfume “travel spray” bottles. The nice black 5 ml ones that I’ve been using have been unavailable for a while, so I went looking for an alternative. I found some 0.25 oz (about 7.5 ml) spray bottles that seem fairly comparable to the old ones except that they hold 50% more, and only come in gold and sliver. I hope that buying the bottles in bulk will allow me to hold the price at the current level, and that the savings on bottles will compensate for the extra perfume that goes in them. It seems like a win-win scenario, assuming that the bottles function as intended.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
There were good reasons. The “real job” is extremely demanding as the academic year moves toward its end, I was getting ready for the spring theatre production (which is now up and running), I had orchid shows and craft shows to deal with, the orchids are extremely needy this time of year what with potting and re-potting, and I was busy once again reorganizing my work area and increasing perfume production to keep up with orders. I’m filtering batches of Salamanca and Arizona as I write this.
In the meantime, the DevilScent Project has taken on a life of its own, I’ve made a commitment to participate in the Artisan Fragrance Salon in San Francisco in July, and I’m feeling fairly overwhelmed, but in a good way.
The new shelves are installed in my work area, complete with an added “lip” to keep things from sliding off in case of an earthquake, and they’re now filled from top to bottom with glassware, bottles of perfume concentrates, and finished bulk bottles of perfumes.
This is not really a “theme” post, it’s just a little warm-up so that I don’t feel aversion to looking at the blog and seeing how long it’s been since the last time.