Monday, March 31, 2008

Perfume Notes

I spent a good deal of Saturday afternoon staring out at the sea. Thinking.

I thought about the words 'I am a perfumer'. Just that for a while. Then I asked myself, 'Well, am I a perfumer?'

Yes. Yes, I am a perfumer.

Saturday was a day of revelations. About confirmation of ideas. About what a crazy path I've chosen to trod.

I've said this before, that some people who want to become perfumers never will. They'll never see personal or commercial success in perfumery. I'm finding that those who do never question their abilities as perfumers. Not out loud, anyway. Or not often. Let's not confuse this with false confidence, however. There are those yet who are afraid to admit they're not cut out for this work and plod along anyway, releasing one atrocious scent after another, making comments that imply that if you as the consumer/sniffer can't figure it out, then you never will and the problem is yours, not theirs. Come on. It will always be your problem if you can't sell it.

There is definitely a cult of personality at work within perfuming. People imagine their favorite perfumer a certain way, building the image of them in their mind from what they write or the stories they tell about themselves, whether true or made up. There was a time when only industry reps and perfumery students were interested in what perfumers said and did. Not anymore. Perfumers have moved into popular culture, acquiring 'groupies' like rock stars. Perfumers are chic and cool, the Andy Warhol's of the 21st century.

It's weird. But what a ride, eh, if you can get a ticket.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What to Say? Or What NOT to Say.

I find myself blurting out revelations to people I hardly know, thinking, somehow, that they're on the same wave length or thought path that I'm on. Generally, I'm correct in my assumptions. Sometimes I'm not. When those 'times' occur, I usually just shut up and sit down -- an action many in natural botanical should take more often.

So it's time to reveal (que the burlesque-style stripper music) ~

Some people have asked for the story behind the Le Parfumeur Rebelle logo. Y'know, the cool, tattooed dude and the pretty young lady who is drinking with exaggerated gusto a quart of what appears to be Southern Comfort. Some have called the logo 'crass', 'base', 'low', 'shocking', even 'trashy'. Yeah. Maybe. But you don't forget it once you've seen it, do you?

Just so you know, the man in the photo is my father. All of 22-years-old, inducted into one of California's largest motorcycle gangs, and eight months post motorcycle accident which left him permanently disfigured. And he's holding a doobie. The girl is just some biker groupie who posed for the picture. Dad's been gone nine years now. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in April 1998. It took him a month to get up the courage to tell me, so I didn't find out until May. At the time, he was living in Montana and I was in California. I remember that phone call like it was yesterday. It started out like all our conversations with him laughing and joking with me, asking about the kids, when I was coming up to see him, then it changed. He got quieter and kept saying, "I have something to tell you. I have something to say." He never did tell me himself. My step-mother took the phone from him and told me because he'd broken down and started crying. I was wrecked. Completely and utterly wrecked. And to add to the misery, just that day I was to be awarded a certificate of I don't know what, and have a story I'd written published in a local college rag on the subject of ~ yeah, death. And I was supposed to read it in front of a committee and all the other award winners later that afternoon. Let's just say that didn't happen.

The doctor gave him three months, and he'd already wasted one before he told me he was sick, so he was down to two months when I went up to stay with him a while. Dad chose no treatment for his cancer except those used for pain management. He was loopy, to say the least, but happy. Happy. He wasn't upset about dying for himself but for those he left behind. I remember he took me for a drive in his old battered pick-up, right up into the hills near a fish hatchery. He parked on the top of a hill and we looked down at the town below and he started telling me about dinosaur bones and fossilized dinosaur poop and all these things from the pioneer days that had washed down the hills into the 'coolies', and how he and his friends used to gather them up and sell some to collectors and keep others, and that he had a whole collection of dino poo and bones in his living room window. He thought that was pretty funny. But he was telling me something else, really. He was telling me that nothing ever really dies and disappears, that sometimes people find those long-dead, long-forgotten things and display them in windows in their homes, and they think about them, how they lived, what they looked like. Remembering them.

Then he asked me if there was anything I wanted to know, any secret he might be holding that I needed. I said nothing. I sat there in the cab of that truck with the words, I don't care, I just love you, please don't die, running over and over in my mind. Then I said, "No, Dad. I already know what I need to know."

He died the following February. He'd lasted eight months with no drastic medical measures being taken, just morphine tabs and a little pot when he could get it. The day he died, he'd been laughing and kidding around with my step-mother, telling her he could see his grandmother standing in the road in the front of their house. He apparently thought it was pretty damned funny that my step-mother couldn't see Grandma, who'd been dead at least 45 years, standing in the street waving to the house. But that's how he was. He literally died with a smile on his face.

So, I don't care how crass or base or low or trashy the LPR logo appears to people. It's a story. And an attitude. It's beautiful. To those folks who get their panties in a bunch over it, just chill. Smile. Laugh.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Reinforcing Personal Law

I've started this blog post at least three times, and deleted them all. Post attempt four here.

This one will exclude derogatory and/or dark remarks. Who needs it anyway?

I'm patiently -- ok, who am I trying to kid here? I am impatiently awaiting feedback from a few people about a project I recently wrapped up. So far, so good. But that could be because they like me and don't want to hurt my feelings? I prefer brutal honesty over kowtowing any day. Nothing bugs more than sending out a gazillion samples and getting 5-star feedback and not a single full-size product sale. Or referral.

So I'm sitting here, tapping my chin and trying to preoccupy my time with the next project. Which is almost done as well. Then? The next project, of course.

My wonderful, fabulous, gifted artiste friend and business associate, Kimberly Ayers, has redesigned 'The Scented Djinn' business logo -- it's the same, but different. Subtler and more sophisticated. All gratitude to Kimberly for her artistic talents and her ability to see what I envision in just the words I write to her. I keep her pretty busy with all my goofy requests, but she somehow manages to be johnny-on-the-spot when producing the goods. Plus she's got three little hairy scaries running around the house, that doesn't include the pets, writes a monthly newsletter for a prominent aromatherapist, designs graphics and finished art projects for Alpha Stamps, and directs her other interests, The Queen's Obsession and Craft Gossip, that means creating products of her own and promoting others' products. Busy girl.

All of her links are on the left side bar of this blog.

The photo above was taken by Ms. Hannah Crane during a visit to the Perfumer's Apprentice in Santa Cruz, CA in February 2008. She doesn't have any links yet.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Spring Equinox!

Time for celebrations.

Planting time for a lot of us.

Finally finished (hopefully finished) the newest edition to the fall fragrance line-up at 'The Scented Djinn'. No clues as yet to its family, not here, anyway. Soon, though. And a limited sampling, perhaps?

Dragged out the ol' al-embic, again. This time distilled quite a bit of ambrette seed hydrosol -- not much by way of oil, at least not enough to decant from the hydrosol. Definitely ambrettey!

Tinctured up some olive leaves. A friend is in need of a yeast fighter, and I want to see if it's a usable perfume ingredient. So far we've got GREEN with a slight olive oil aroma. Slight.

Happy whatever-you-celebrate-today day!

Monday, March 03, 2008


Okay, here's the link to my interview by Shelley Waddington.


Go read it.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Le Parfumeur Rebelle ~ A New Era

Le Parfumeur Rebelle, my other project, has relaunched with a new, but not entirely different, look.

Some of the changes include prettier pages. No more running pages that go on into the stratosphere with type print so small you have to have your nose on the computer screen to read it.

More interviews, too. And monthly articles and reviews. The giveaways are still in place, so if you haven't visited yet, get on over there -- March 2008's giveaway prize comes from MoonaLisa: A Supernatural Clean. I've reviewed this stuff -- it's top drawer.

If you go to the site, please read the 'About Us' page and the 'Op/Ed' page - those two pages represent the atmosphere at LPR.

And there's an interview/story about me :D

Can you dig it?


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