Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Queen

The Vanilla Queen, that is, Ms. Patricia Rain.

Just read her blog on her trip to Cuba -- amazing, fascinating and emotionally moving.

Must read!

A Journey to Cuba & Southern Mexico. Scrolling is required as Patricia's entries are long and thorough. Be prepared for numb butt while reading about her captivating journey.

Enigma

A bit difficult, that, having a blog and all. I think it's important to be somewhat mysterious as an artisan perfumer (or anything else, for that matter). I can't say how many times I've fallen for some public icons' 'act', then googled them to find they're Humvee driving gun toting meat eating non-voting misogynistic womanizing non-safe-sex-having chain smokers. And that statement should pretty much cut through any remaining mystery here.

My point, if there is one, is that those most successful in this business of natural perfumery are enigmas to the world. And they must remain that way, for if we were to see them for who they really are -- self-absorbed, glory-seeking liars, for example -- we wouldn't want to know them, much less buy their wares. But this is true with anyone, right?

Enigmas. Which means they stay off the lists. They usually don't blog. They don't follow the list trends (because they're not on the lists) and they sell the hell out of their stuff. Like little islands, they are -- little islands the rest of us envy.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Home Brewin'

That lovely bit of rust colored juice is magnolia flower tincture. Pretty it ain't. Aside from the tenacity of the organic grape alcohol itself, this particular juice has a jackhammer effect on the business end of the olfactory nerves. Reminds me of a candiru fish -- finds a path of least resistence and then tunnels until it gets to the spot where it will create the most damage. I find myself swatting at the scent wafting from this bottle, not because it's bad, but because it's swift and angry and pounces on scent detectors like Rampage Jackson hopping up and down on Chuck Liddell in UFC 71. Yeah, it's mean like that. Aggressive.

And, of course, I love it.

Went for a second round of tincturing on those pretty in pink, Dr. Seuss styled, not really mimosa flowers -- gawd, they smell gorgeous. Melony. Juicy honeydew and ripe apricot. Just lovely. Quite slow to translate into alcohol, though, but getting there.

Finished up the most beautiful tribal bellydance costume with authentic coins and stone encrusted pendants. What I see in my mind's eye isn't always what comes out of my fingers, but with this particular project, everything went without a hitch. I'll post pictures of the costume later this week while it's being worn for a recital. If it were a perfume, it would be dark amber and rose otto with hints of Mysore sandalwood and pink lotus.

I'm also putting together an impromptu wedding reception. Spent the day yesterday tulle-ing up an arch, attaching pink silk roses here and there. Turned out very nice. Learned a few things about wedding decorations, like white pipe cleaners are indispensible -- so are twinkie light clips, safety pins and yards and yards and yards (and this could go on forever) of white bobbinette. Oh, I'm also making the wedding cake. Pink champagne with pink frosting and loads of white chocolate shavings. And I'm catering it as well. Olive tapinade, pesto with pine nuts and sun-dried tomato paste on crustini, marinated mushrooms, devils on horseback (prunes stuffed with pecans, wrapped in bacon or provalone and broiled for a minute or two), pecan and cranberry salad -- there's more, but my brain just shut down when it realized how much work I have ahead of me.

The class in June is shaping up nicely. I've had loads and loads of advice from people on how to streamline the course, so thank you all who sent in your words of encouragement -- it's been a tremendous help. Not to mention help from the stars the day I was literally sitting with my forehead resting on my desk contemplating banging it up and down, and then I remembered my horoscope that day, which read: You already have everything you need to make this situation start working for you, so stop searching for answers. It's time to look at your store of knowledge. Give your experiences the appropriate weight and meaning. Yes, I saved it. It seemed meaningful to the situation, as most horoscopes do not.

I got my portable perfumer's chest put together. It looks so cool. There are over 50 different tinctures, essential oils, absolutes and dilutions in that box, all nestled in their own little 1/2 oz corked bottle. I wasn't sure when I started building it if it would hold all the things one would need to put together a perfume, but then I decided to put it to the test, without the inventory list in front of me, and was able to build a tiny little 'fume almost entirely from the box. There was only one essence that was on my perfume blueprint that wasn't in the box -- rosewood. The box can hold about 30 plastic pipettes and two packages of 100 scent strips on top of the bottles, but I don't think I'll put them together that way. The scent strips will soak up the scent from the bottles and will become useless. At any rate, I had a lot of fun putting it together and I encourage anyone interested in the scented arts to build their own little portable gig box.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Albizia Julibrissin

Persian silk flower. Bastard tamarind.

The other day, I had the misfortune of being volunteered to help pull Bermuda grass from an iris and sweet pea flower bed. While down there, mucking in the dirt, rolly-pollys, worms and cat poo, I was graced with an occasional whiff of something sweet and honied on the wind. I knew it wasn't the sweet peas, and the irises haven't even bloomed yet. What the hell was it?

I asked my mother, the head weed-pulling volunteer, what that scent was and she said, "That damned dripping tree over there," gesturing toward a flowering mimosa*.

I followed my nose and then filled a bag with the soft, silky, pink tipped flowers that reminded me of a bird from one of Dr. Seuss' books. Oh, but the scent. Like peaches and plums and melons with a touch of jasmine. Lovely.

So, yeah, I tinctured them. That's it right there -- that bottle of bleached out hairballs. And the tincture does smell gorgeous.

*The tree isn't technically a 'mimosa' -- it was once classified as an acacia, but has since been reclassified. We still call them mimosa trees here because we're ignorant. It's sort of like how we call ourselves and others like us 'Okies' when not a single one of us originated from Oklahoma (my family is from Michigan and New Mexico). It's a regional thing. Goes back to the Dust Bowl era -- 'Grapes of Wrath'.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Moments Under the Bodhi Tree

It's lovely to wake up in the morning and say to yourself, "Good God, it's wonderful to be alive and not bored out of my skull!"

Yes. Harsh. I get that too. And more than a bit trivial. But moments of clarity, insignificant as they are, are rare and when they come I want to celebrate them.

Blue lotus. Lord have mercy.

(That was my review of blue lotus, in case you weren't paying attention.)

Cypresses ~ jade, emerald and blue. Jewels of varied hues and essences. Gotta get'cha some.

Liatris odorsomethingorother ~ hey, hey, hay!

The danger in receiving these divine scents lie in the desire to pour them, neat and raw, over the top of my head until I reek of Thai ponds and sparkle with iridescent color. A lustrous water-borne diva.

*Graphic by Kimberly Ayers

Friday, May 18, 2007

Roller Girls Love Burlesque


OPUS OILS
Ph: 323.851.0714
Fax: 323.851.7622

opusoils@msn.com


Opus Oils Announces Official Roller Girl Perfume Launch Party At The Legendary Ivan Kane’s Forty Deuce Nightclub And Burlesque



Hollywood, CA – May 17th, 2007 – Opus Oils, a Perfume Atelier located in the heart of glamorous Hollywood, CA announced today the Official Launch & Release Party for their new “Roller Girl” 1oz Eau de Parfum. It will take place at the legendary Ivan Kane’s Forty Deuce Nightclub & Burlesque located at 5574 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, CA 90038 on May 23rd, 2007.

After years of success with their Burlesque Perfume Collection, Opus Oils wanted to maintain their underground/exclusiveness by launching their newest perfume “Roller Girl” at Hollywood’s premier burlesque-themed nightclub. “We’re very fortunate to be apart of Forty Deuce’s 5th anniversary month-long celebration.” says Joshua Hart, Director of PR for Opus Oils “Ivan Kane is a creative genius & his clubs are the epitome of class & style in the world of Burlesque.” Opus Oils & the creators of “Roller Girl” will be on hand to give out samples, product, swag bags & other special prizes.

This special night will also mark the 100th Performance of Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly - The newest creation from Ivan Kane celebrates the landmark performance of the rock ‘n roll burlesque show that has been featured on Rockstar Supernova and Jimmy Kimmel Live! Forty Deuce is also set to open their 3rd location this fall in New York in a much-publicized partnership with Sting and David Bowie.

About “Roller Girl”
Roller Girl is available online at www.OpusOils.com & retails for $35 - $45. The key notes of this luscious fragrance include Licorice, Black cherry, Vanilla and Vetivert. It comes in a 1oz/30 ml Eau de Parfum roll-on & is about the size of a roll of quarters (perfect for socking someone in the jaw). It’s truly the perfume that packs a punch! “Roller Girl” was inspired by our love for the rough and tumble game of Roller Derby & the beautiful, skilled & talented women that play it.

About Opus Oils

Opus Oils is a Perfume Atelier located in the heart of glamorous Hollywood, CA with a European Division/Workshop in Paris, France. “Our goal is to create high quality, couture perfumes, made in the traditional methods of the artisan perfumers of centuries past. Our specialty lines of Boutique Fragrances are hand blended, ‘aged,’ and poured in small batches by our Master Blender, Kedra Hart, one of the developers of The Apothecary at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills. “We are one of the few, niche perfumers involved in the quickly growing field known as ‘Natural Perfumery.’" Opus Oils have 160+ products available.


About Ivan Kane’s Forty Deuce

The mission of Ivan Kane’s Forty Deuce Nightclub and Burlesque is to bring back nightlife's mystique, fun, glamour and danger; to "suggest", to "tease" and to be the pinnacle of sexiness. Whether you're looking for classic 1940s burlesque or an amped-up rock 'n roll extravaganza, you're in for a treat like NO OTHER. Currently located in Glamorous Hollywood and in Sin City at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino


For Additional Opus Oils Info & Samples Contact: Joshua Hart, Director of Public Relations, Opus Oils Ph: (323) 851-0714 Fax: (323) 851-7622
Email: opusoils@msn.com Web: www.OpusOils.com www.myspace.com/opusoils www.kedrahart.com
8035 Hollywood Blvd., #10 Hollywood, CA 90046-2576

For Additional Ivan Kane’s Forty Deuce & Royal Jelly Information, Contact:

Kris Ferraro

Wagner/Junker Agency

323-461-1011
kris@wagnerjunker.com

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day, Expertise and Doubt

For the now traditional Mother's Day breakfast in bed, my two remaining baby birds made blackened omelet with a side of tortured green apple smothered in peanut butter and maple syrup. And day-old, reheated coffee. Then they flew off to church with grandma, leaving dear mom to clean the mess they left.

Ah. The joys of motherhood.

I've got a big class coming up. Big. I'm plagued by thoughts of my lack of expertise, though people tell me that once I get started on the subject of natural perfumes, I cannot be stopped, and the thoughts and range of ideas that spew forth -- well, 'they' say I should teach classes. I also suffer from stage fright. Terribly. It's the getting started that terrifies me. The follow-up takes care of itself, reference the subject of 'once I get started on natural perfumes, I cannot be stopped'. And the esprit de l'escalier, those things I should have said but couldn't think clearly enough to do so at the time. I know. This takes practice. The trick with imagining my audience in their underwear doesn't work for me. I don't know what will. I'm going to have to just get over it. In the meantime, I deal with near obsessive doubt.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Treasure

Ebay.

That one little word can make your tummy flutter with excitement, or just plain make you sick.

Perhaps this will cheer you -- perhaps it won't.

Either way, you have to see it: 1900 Perfumer's Fragrance Oil Set -- 194 bottles *yow!*

Happy bidding/watching!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Tales From a Blender's Life

Geesh, I've been busy.

Whoever would have thought that packaging up teeny, tiny sample vials could be so time-consuming? And boring.

This is the part of my work that I find so difficult -- packaging, marketing, selling, peddling, hawking, pushing -- all the 'money' aspects of this business just make my head spin. I suppose I should employ my children in these more menial* tasks, but any time two or more are in a room together a fight breaks out over, oh, I don't know, how close someone's foot was to someone else's foot, and something gets broken. Nine times out of ten, the broken item is mine, usually something precious to me or at least semi-expensive. It isn't a financially responsible idea to put them to work in the 'fume lab. I've already recently lost a considerable amount of vanilla eo to mechanical failure (see hole in bottom of aluminum container). Not a loss I'm willing to repeat if I can help it. So I trudge on alone.

The current bathroom reading materials are 'The Secret of Scent' by Luca Turin, which I read only when I want to pretend to learn something. I lost the flow of this book about 1/4 of the way in, right when Luca began the chemistry lessons with all the asides (sort of like what I do -- right here, in fact), the current issue of 'Rolling Stones' magazine for when I'm in a really big hurry and want to be disgusted or delighted by what the famous musically inclined folk are up to, and 'A Passage to India' for times when I know I'll be sitting a while and want to be enchanted instead of being smothered in chemistry or lashed with the thoughts and ideas of musical megalomaniacs.

I've been working on a humus accord. So far it's got a mushroom~y stank with a healthy dose of dirty angelica working for it. I'm seriously considering a drop, literally a drop, of valerian root tincture to give it the rot aspect. Scares the crap out of me. I'm afraid I'll end up with something so fetid and decomposed that it will be completely unusable. On the other hand, it could be the most wonderfully well blended 'rotted earth' accord ever.

*I really don't consider these tasks menial, per se, just boring to the point of procrastination.

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