Wednesday, June 14, 2006


A long-time customer recently asked me if what I was doing now was aromatherapy.

I had to answer no.

What I know about aromatherapy, without cracking my volumes of books on the subject, could fit neatly into a thimble. Well, maybe I exaggerate just a bit. I have studied aromatherapy, but it has never held my attention for very long. There was just something about its medicinal applications that didn't appeal to my sense of beauty.

Aromatherapists as Perfumers

Aromatherapists appear to show a lighter, hesitant hand. That's not to say their creations aren't beautiful, because most of them undoubtedly are. It's just that there seems to be a hint of caution in the formulations made by aromatherapists; a line in the imaginary sand of essence they toe but do not dare cross.

So while the perfumes and eau de toilettes presented by some aromatherapists seem (to me) to be repressed and quiet, they still have the ability to elicit the same emotional fever that stronger, louder perfumes do.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Blending Blunders

Ok, so, yeah, I do a little blending. I've also learned to do a little tincturing as well. And in my efforts, I have managed to come up with one or two end product perfumes of some note -- out of an approximate 200 or more attempts.

I took one of them, a loose translation of Fracas, poured it into a perfume atomizer and proceeded to spray myself -- liberally -- everywhere. Then I got into a car. A very tiny car. With my husband. A very large husband.

About five minutes into our drive, he asks, "What is that scent?" He shifts the car into 5th gear, his shoulder brushing against mine.

"It's something I made." I replied happily.

"It smells like . . ."

"Oh, isn't it wonderful?" I ask. "I've been working on layering scent, y'know, like top goes first, then middle, then bottom, and they combine and meld and . . ." I prattle on.

"Like . . . a urinal."

I just sit there open-mouthed, my tiny blooming new perfumer's heart crushed. "A urinal?"

"Yeah." He answers. "Or an old lady's bathroom. Like she's sprayed her favorite perfume in the bathroom to mask the odor of stale urine."

I sniff my wrist.

"Ooh! I know!" He exclaims, his index finger pointing in the air. "It smells like a nursing home!"

"So, did you like the other perfume I made? The clementine perfume?" I ask dejectedly.

"Yeah, I liked that one. It smelled like candy."

Urinals and candy. Wonderful.

The lesson here is: Always test drive your perfume.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I’ve come to realize that my perfume reviews are boring. In comparison to other, more sophisticated perfume bloggers, mine seems elementary and basic.

Instead of saying exactly how a perfume smells, I use too many adjectives like ‘lovely’ and ‘beautiful’ and ‘wafting on the wind‘, which honestly don’t tell you anything!

Now, if a particular ‘fume smells like the waxy red dashboard of a 1964 Impala (and you know with certainty what that smells like because you’ve lain across it while drunk out of your mind) with jasmine oil and a scosh of pine poured over it, that’s what I’m going to say.

So, instead of saying it smells ‘unusual’ or ‘twacky’, I’ll elaborate by describing said twacky scent -- say it smells like burning amber incense with a hint of pickles, that’s what you’ll get -- and not just any nameless pickle, either. It'll read bread and butter pickles. Dill pickles. Garlic pickles. Moldy, homemade pickles with a gloss of high octane ethanol and the pungent, cheesy essence of toe jam.

You get what you pay for.


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