Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Misetu ~ A Natural Perfume by Liz Zorn

Liz Zorn of Liz Zorn Perfumes has been creating perfumes since the 70's, learning her craft from various old books, through experimentation, and by taking art theories (she's also an artist artist) and applying them to perfumery.

Misetu is only one of several natural perfumes Ms. Zorn has created. It is a sweet, honey-floral, fruity parfum with a powdery, soapy, only faintly leathery drydown. The intense magnolia evolves to bitter warmth and floral powderiness, turns slightly urinic (which IS NOT a bad thing), and skips toward sweet, warm, dry, honied skin. Like a fresh, new bottle of parfum in an old, dusty boudoir. Very old-fashioned feel to it. Girlie. On a scent strip, the perfume is singularly magnolia-ish ~ hardly a move in evolution from the point of application to the end (when the strip gets tossed), so it has to be worn on the skin to truly get the 'feel' of it.

The duration of the perfume is decent (naturals have a tendency not to 'stick' as well as synthetics), about 3 - 4 hours on my skin, and throughout the drydown it retains the fruity magnolia 'n honey essence.

What I find most interesting about this perfume is that *urine note; a certain sweet, creamy, maple~y, honied mustiness that oftentimes wafts off Australian sandalwoods. What's so interesting? Well, according to the list of essences, there isn't any sandalwood in this perfume. So I'm going to blame that note on Ms. Zorn's artful blending. A residual effect from the combination of elements used to build this perfume? Who really cares? It's splendid regardless.

However, having observed that last bit, this perfume isn't really my style. Well blended, pretty, has longevity, is imaginative -- yes! Would I wear it? Probably not. It's no reflection on the perfumer, simply a reflection of my tastes.

Parfum's notes: red grapefruit, jasmin sambac, magnolia, white lotus, elemi, guiacwood, vetyver, tobacco, aglaia flower, clove, geranium, "spices", lavender, ylang~ylang, Peru balsam, orris.

*Ms. Zorn states on her website that she's built an 'animalic inspired earthiness' into the perfume; this is simply a dispute (not really) of our terms. She says 'animalic', I say 'stale pee pee'; either way, it's good.

Leather and Lace

So are you thinking of Stevie Nicks? Well, this has nothing to do with her. It has to do with another gorgeous creation from Ruby's Jewels -- Leather 'n Lace Pure Botanical Perfume.

The first thought that pops into my mind when I wear this perfume is 'sultry'. It reminds me very much of old-school perfumes, pre-80's stuff (80's = aldehyde horse-kicks in the teeth). The top note, from the bottle, is a fleeting green and yellow spark -- citrus and green peppers and cardamom -- or some other such green 'n yellow combo. On the skin it turns all powdery and sweet candyish with an undertone of something dark and heavy. It never turns resinous or solidly leathery, instead it mellows and gives hints of leather; leather under piles of spices and flowers, like a chamois drenched in floral potpourri.

However, I must point out that this perfume has, since my receiving a sample, been reformulated. Ms. Y entreated two famous European indie perfumers in an effort to make something great even mo' bett'a, and with their suggestions in mind, made some adjustments to this already spectacular perfume.

You gotta watch for this woman, 'cause she throws surprises out one after another, when you least expect it, and, to date, not a single one has been a disappointment.

Artwork courtesy of Mz. Bella, Kimberly Ayers, The Queen's Obsession, Craftgossip.com

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Resilience?

No pic. Just a short note.

According to the latest media, Black Friday shoppers showed their 'resilience' toward higher gas prices by braving the early hours, long drives, parking horrors, the unwashed masses and tomorrow's credit card nightmares so they could 'get the deals', and to make the wealth rakers even wealthier.

Resilience.


Baaaaaaaaaaa!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Buy Handmade

This post is a continuance of a previous post about becoming a non-commercial consumer and buying or making handmade gifts for the holidays.

One or two of you have written to say that yeah, it's a good idea to make handmade gifts, but what happens when, or if, you can't? For whatever reasons, some folks are only good at making messes.

Try Etsy. There are so many wonderful craftpersons on Etsy selling handmade items in all price ranges, all your shopping can be done right there. You'd be supporting a small businessperson who needs your attention more than Walmart or Macy's does, and if enough folks join in, we might possibly send a message to the corporate machine that we're sick of them force feeding us what they think we should buy.

Also, try your local farmer's market. If you've got a goodies' lover on your list, why not get them a jar of locally made jelly or jam? Dress it up with a bow and slip it into a handmade cloth bag?

So many great handmade ideas are out there. Go catch one!

Oh! And make the 'Buy Handmade Pledge'.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lost Treasures

In 2001 I joined a Yahoo group called Blue Lotus Moon run by this crazy chick who loaded the group with more crazy chicks, myself included, who were doing some crazy stuff with soap and shea butter and exotic aromatics. Before this group, the very idea of pouring jasmine grandiflorum absolute into a soap base never even crossed my mind. That year, the group decided to put together a holiday swap. Man, that was the best swap I have ever been involved with. The stuff that was shared was so over-the-top luxurious I hardly have words. Whipped butters made of light and air and fragrant botanicals; fat, chunky soaps made with lush floral waxes and odd scent combinations that worked unbelievably well together; scrubs laden with rose otto, and a creme perfume whose scent could make your toes curl. Really.

So here it is, 2007, and I'm still koo-koo for the scent of that creme perfume. So crazy for it, in fact, that its creator made me a special one-of-a-kind bottle in liquid parfum form. It misses absolutely nothing from the original creation. It is so beautifully blended that I can't even concentrate on it long enough to pick it apart -- is that jasmine? Tuberose? Vanilla? Tonka? Honey? Don't know. Really don't care! I immediately go into bliss mode when I get a sniff'a this botanical dope. It's my own personal catnip.

It smells like-- honey. And lush white flowers, tropical blossoms, warm, powdered skin~ jasmine, tuberose, gardenia, ylang, vanilla, rose. It's an intoxicant. Makes the head all swimmy and the body go limp. Didn't I just say it was botanical dope?

Maybe it's all in the psychology. Maybe because it was my very first, true botanical, real perfume experience, opposed to simpler blends and AT blends, I've grown an unnatural attachment to it.

Naw! It's really that good.

Amulette. By Ruby's Jewels.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Natural & Botanical Perfumery Education Resources

Le Parfumeur Rebelle, its editors and contributors, cannot stress enough how important a solid natural and botanical perfumery education can be for those who wish to be natural and botanical perfumers. Most are self-taught (myself included) through intensive book study and olfactory training, or by joining more structured blending groups that offer free and valuable information, but there are plenty of wonderful education resources for those who wish to fast track their education, and spend more than a few dollars for it.

Here are LPR's recommendations:

Ayala Moriel Perfumes
AyalaMoriel.com
1230 Haro St., Buzz #295
Vancouver, BC
(778) 863-0806
Class: Foundation to Natural Perfumery Course

Jeanne Rose
Natural Perfumery & Exotics
219 Carl Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
March 14-16, 2008

Perfume Classes by Kedra Hart
(323) 851-0714
Opus Oils

Grasse Institute of Perfumery
Natural & Summer School Courses
Prodarom
Grasse, France

Here are some great books for those who choose the self-taught path:

William Kaufman's 'Perfume'
Published 1974

G.W. Septimus Piesse
'The Art of Perfumery, and Method of Obtaining the Odors of Plants'
p. 1857

Steffan Arctander
'Perfume & Flavor Materials of Natural Origin'

Edward Sagarin
'Science and Art of Perfumery'

William A. Poucher, Ph.C.
'Perfumes, Cosmetics & Soaps

Eugene Rimmel
'Book of Perfumes'

Elizabeth Barille & Catherine Laroze
'The Book of Perfume'

David H. Pybus & Charles S. Sell
'The Chemistry of Fragrances'

Michael Edwards
'Perfume Legends; French Feminine Fragrance

Richard le Gallienne
'The Romance of Perfume'

Louis Appell
'Cosmetics, Fragrances & Flavors; Their Formulation & Preparation'

Jill Jessee
'Perfume Album'

Well, there are more. Many more. But this should help to get you started.

'Oh, True Apotheary!' Turns Two!

OTA turns two on November 20th.

Terrible twos? Oooooooh!

Ha!

'Tis (almost) the Season!

This is a trying time of year. Holidays zoom up, money woes turn to nightmares, consumerism peaks, people get stressed. It can be scary. It doesn't have to be. Rather than rush the malls to buy things that will end up in the trash by February, why not donate money to a small, obscure charity, or volunteer your time, or write individual holiday cards with personal notes of gratitude to whomever you give them, or MAKE gifts, or give movie tickets or season tickets to the local playhouse? A gift from the heart is a much grander gesture than a store-bought, possibly unnecessary, bauble. I'm just passing the idea along, here, folks.

I'm making 'green bags'. I'm sewing up muslin grocery bags for each person on my list and filling the bags with handmade goodies: lotions, potions and brews. Maybe a bottle of organic wine for the older set; bottles of skin potions for those who are younger. Food is good. I'm thinking of printing the receiver's favorite recipe on card stock and decorating it with glitter and glue and rubber stamp art and yarn tassels. Fun stuff. Homemade cookies and candy are always a hit. Arm warmers are easy to make and can be decorated to suit the receiver's tastes. Simple things. Made and given with love. I'm even making dough art tree ornaments this year, something I haven't done since 1994. My 4-year-old grandson will be 'helping' ~ ha!

Wouldn't you rather be at home on a Saturday afternoon baking cookies or gingerbread men or blending up a wicked lovely smelling skin potion than being elbowed and pushed through the teeming crowds at the mall to buy things you can't afford? You can bet your buhdunkadunk you won't find me within 100 feet of any mall this year. You might find me at the fabric store or the grocery store, though.

It's still early enough to plan a day or two of at-home time to put some simple, inexpensive things together. And who knows? You might even have some fun.

Monday, November 12, 2007

What Work Isn't

I occasionally go on about cleaning my workspace, how tedious it is, how I put it off until it's nearly unmanageable, how crazy it makes me. But really, deep down, I love it.

The initial getting started part is always the most difficult -- like getting ready for the j-o-b and walking out the front door -- it's the first step toward getting to the work that is where the dread lies. Yes, dread is a good way of describing this feeling.

Once I begin, though, the feeling moves from dread (where will I put all this stuff? How will I organize it? How will I keep my workspace clean?) to magic. Something happens, something powerful, that changes the idea that this is work to the idea that this is play.

I rediscover forgotten bottles -- rare, sweet babies that throw their arms around me, drawing me down, and in there, too, lies a tiny kernel of dread.

For the most part, unless I'm working on a project, I avoid my workbench. It's cluttered and covered -- every inch of it -- with bottles of essential oils, absolutes, concretes, dilutions, projects stewing until their presentation dates arrive, stacks of notebooks, jars of glass pipettes soaking in alcohol, blending bottles, scales, perfumes for review- well, everything! Most of the blending I do is done at my computer desk, away from the amber glass menagerie, away from the temptations.

Because if I go there, if I walk to the bench with dust rag in hand, I will sit down. Then I will pick up a bottle, wipe it off and set it aside. Then I will pick out another bottle, wipe it off and I will not set it aside. I will open it and fall into its essence and work bottle to bottle this way until hours have passed and the workbench is still a cluttered mess and kids are coming home from school or from playing with friends and dinner is late and laundry isn't done and I have forgotten to pick up the cat from the vet's . . . and I am once again completely inspired, and out of time.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Lovely Lemon

Lemon, as common as it is, is quite a sublimely beautiful scent. When you ask someone to describe the scent, they almost always say, "Citrusy" or "Lemony", or if you've got a real joker on your hands, "Furniture polish!".

Cold-pressed lemon oil, as a perfumery ingredient, is much more complex than any of these descriptions, running the gamut between aldehydic notes that are sweet-fruity-floral, to notes that go all musty and old paperish and take on a powdered lemonade scent.

The time it takes for lemon oil essence to move from its most-loved (in my opinion), and most recognized, fruity-tart-sharp-cool notes to musty-crackling old paper is a matter of minutes. The old paper scent remains for hours, though. Then it's gone.

Distillation

I've been reading and studying distillation lately, since I was gifted this gorgeous copper alembic a couple of months back. Its capacity is very small, less than one liter, but perfect, I think, for my experiments.

You can tell that I've only been studying distillation and not actually distilling by the lovely dust-prints covering the alembic.

During my research of distillation, I found this video ~ awesome!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

New Month, New Giveaway at LPR

No pic. Just a message.

Enter this month's Le Parfumeur Rebelle monthly giveaway for your chance to win 2 mls of Sri Lankan sandalwood generously provided by Nature's Gift.

Good luck!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Le Parfumeur Rebelle's first Monthly Giveaway Winner

Le Parfumeur Rebelle's first monthly giveaway was very successful. Lots of folks from all around the world entered, from Modesto to Moscow.

So without further adieu, I'd like to announce the winner.

Siobhan McDowell of Belfast, Northern Ireland, won 2 mls of Motia Jasmine Attar (Jasmine sambac codistilled with sandalwood), and two Professional Formula carrier oil blends, #'s 1 and 4 from Sunrose Aromatics.

And an LPR t-shirt.

Congrats to the winner.

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