Thursday, November 30, 2006

Faux pas . . .or showin' mah butt!

I'm not perfect. I don't even pretend to be. So when I make a blunder, like mixing up famous perfume houses' names, calling Youth Dew Amber Nude a product of Elizabeth Arden, as well as calling it 'Naked Amber', then I think I'd like someone to kindly point out my mistake. Kindly, if you please.

I don't know famous perfumes. I know Chanel (No's 5 & 19 ~ never smelled 22, or anything else from this house), I know Guerlain (Shalimar, Mitsouko, Samsara, Champs-Elysees, jardins de bagatelle ~ and only because I have a miniature gift box), I know DKNY, Mix by Arrogance, Amarige Mariage. I know Lolita Lempicka and we don't get along. I know Moschino's I Love Love (by the way, I'm not in love love with this one), I know Nanette Lepore and she's a sissy girl. I adore Prada.

I don't wear this stuff ~ much. I wear what I make, or something another natural perfumer has made. Nearly all my previous perfume experience was through Avon in the form of various Christmas gifts given me as a child (the bottles were fun), or tiny spritz's from one of my rich aunt's perfume vaporizers (I never learned the names of these perfumes, but I do know they were expensive as these ladies wore only the best), or the shoebox my grandmother kept at the bottom of her closet that held half full bottles of very vintage perfumes, names unknown.

And, of course, Jean Nate. Ugh.

The perfumes I remember most are those I 'made' myself ~ crushed geranium leaves on the wrist, gardenia flowers rubbed behind the ears. My favorite creations were those I made while living in the mountains. Manzanita berries, pine needles, sap, thyme, resin-rich cedar shavings and wild apple blossoms mushed together to make 'incense', which, by the way, never actually burned.

So, if I stumble and flub up on who makes what synthetic perfume, well, give me a bit of a break. I don't think it's necessary for me, or any other natural perfumer, to know which perfume house made what. It's not our gig.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Artisan soapmaker.

Laura loaded her soaps with rare and delicious aromatics ~ warm, smooth Tamil Nadu sandalwood -- four ounces of that sandalwood, half-an-ounce of vanilla paste, and an ounce or so more of Rainbow Meadow's amber paste to a three pound batch of soap.

Now THAT was a bathing experience never to be forgotten.

And I haven't.


Remember the Rhassoul and Rose soap set? Two little bars of soap, one loaded to the fins with rhassoul clay of the chunky variety; the other, much smaller, overflowing with real rose otto and creamy shea butter. Both appeared hand molded, as if Ana had taken each piece and rolled it between her fingers until she'd created eggs of soapy heaven. And they were stamped ~ back then, no one stamped soap but Ana. Now everyone stamps.

How about the scrubby bar? The big, fat one at 7 or 8 oz, made almost entirely of raw, unrefined shea, scented with spearmint and packed with ground walnut hulls. Man!

Ana defined artisan soapmaking. No one does it quite the way she did.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sick, Sad Politics of Natural & Botanical Perfumery

I don't like posts like this.

I hate the politics of natural & botanical perfumery. Just fuckin' hate it. People who were once on the same artistic plane have begun to chuck each other out the windows to please someone else whose coattails are a bit longer, fit more people, move faster and spread more ego-borne bullshit.

No matter how many black holes the so-called outcasts fall into, talent, integrity & honesty will win out.

Tincture that.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

How Do I Love Thee?

As most everyone who knows me knows, I just adore the truly hideously stinky stuff. Choya loban, for example. Even my friends who love the stinkies as I do have a hard time with this one. I really don't see why ~ it's divine!

I had the opportunity to use a bit (I do mean a 'bit', too, as this monster essence will invade, conquer and destroy anything you put it in if you're not being frugal) while blending a perfume I had planned to name -- well, you don't need to know that. Turns out my intended name choice went the way of the dodo because what I ended up with was more autumn~y and floral than what I'd anticipated, as if you'd awoken to mum baking buttery raisin and cinnamon scones and the scent of late season roses wafting through the open windows. And the choya loban, with its deliciously ambery essence hovering beneath these other scents ~ ah! Adds just the right amount of warmth and sensuality.

Then I went trippin' off to the perfume counter at the local chee-chee, high-dollah boutique and found Youth Dew Amber Nude. Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit! There was the choya again, all nekkid and stuff, and more likely as not synthetic. Eek! But damn! I was all blissed out over that crap, making the Estee Lauder perfume-counter-lady nervous. She was so gorked, she rushed to get her little note book, y'know, the one they train with that tells them the notes in the 'fume, and she read the note's list as she walked backwards -- away from me. I don't think they tell them what's synthetic and what isn't. It's sort of like what you'd get from Scent Direct when you request a geneology of a perfume ~ just notes but not ingredients. I kept saying 'benzoin' and she kept saying, 'oh, no, amber'. Whatever. Maybe a short course in natural perfumery could help these poor perfume counter folks.

At any rate, do the choya loban. Will at Eden Botanicals' has the stuff. I suspect my little quarter ounce bottle will last me until I'm dead. It gets an 8 on the SFS (Stink Factor Scale), because it lacks the gross-out, rankness of say -- butt cracks.


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