Sunday, September 20, 2009

Yesterday went as expected ~ controlled chaos, as usual. Who in their correct mind reserves a table at a public park on the same day as the well-advertised and well-attended annual Scottish Games when they have a perfectly beautiful, nearly 1 acre plot of lush gardens and lawn just steps from their front door? Well, at least there were a lot of great looking legs to stare at :)

I have this really gorgeous combination of orris root tincture and antique orris resin that I'm just itching to use ~ the orris root has been tincturing, and has also been zippy zapped, for the better part of a year now; the orris resin is a recent addition and meant to boost the scent of the tincture ~ and boost it has! I have the sneaking suspicion it won't take much of this tincture to make a significant impact in a formulation. It's sweet, verging on honey-like, with a lot of blond tobacco notes, smells a little animalic, like slightly urinic fur ~ that doesn't sound very pleasant, really, but I assure you, the sweetness and the hovering violet notes completely obliterate that nastiness. As it dries on skin, it takes on more of those violet notes, soft and almost-not-quite-there, but then you get another big whiff and it all comes back again. It's intoxicating. I smell a little piece of boronia in there, without the fruity raspberry notes ~ I really love it. I'm almost afraid to use the stuff!

I have this little vintage looking box with a hook latch that I keep all these special treasures in -- all those resins I purchased and a few that were gifted, diluted down and, through the magic of dilution, expanded and expressed, true to nature. It has always amazed me how naturals expand like that when they're diluted. I remember years back people saying that diluting rose brought it to it's natural strength, sort of the less is more theory in play. One of my online course students has a copy of Gattefosse in French, which she's diligently translating, and she discovered that Gattefosse has perfected the art of dilution, creating charts with each essence and its highest concentration of dilution in various percentages of alcohol. It sounds much more complicated than it is, but the information she found served to support my assertions that diluting is important, that it definitely doesn't take anything away from their compositions, that it instead adds to the quality of the work each perfumer does. I get this a lot from these students, and from other students, too, this question of dilution, why we do it, how does it work, how can it work? It has taken some convincing to get some of these students to believe that diluting is the way to go. There was also a bit of confusion when grading perfumes ~ how can it be a parfum if all the materials are diluted? The proof came with the experimentation in dilutions. No amount of verbal or written explanation can clearly illuminate the theory the way that hands-on experimentation does. Study your materials in several dilutions ~ for example, take your precious jasmine sambac and dilute a portion to 1%, then dilute another portion to 5%, and another to 10%, and if you're feeling adventurous, dilute another to 15 or 20%, and evaluate away.

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