Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Perfumer's Work is Never Done

Since I'm just as likely to win the lottery as I am to be crushed by a vending machine, per the odds reported by the illustrious and ever vigilant champions of "real news", Yahoo! News, I suspect sticking with what I'm doing is the best course of action at this time. Until I win the lottery. Or until I get crushed under a potato chip machine at the rest stop just south of Modesto, at which point, none of this will matter.

Just discovered to my absolute and utter horror that a full liter bottle of Khamsa eau Fraiche evaporated into the ether. Either that or the cats drank it. I don't know what happened to it. It has been sitting in its dark cupboard for months, maturing, its cap tightly screwed down, and then a few days ago, I took it out and saw swill at the bottom of the bottle! Swill! Nice smelling swill, I admit, but SWILL! So now I'm off to gather the bits and pieces of aromatic loveliness that make up Khamsa and start over again.

I'm not one of those independently wealthy Natural Botanical Perfumers who laughs off spilling an ounce of rose otto on their laps like they spilled a little seltzer water. I once scrimped and saved and bought a fine amount of vanilla absolute only to have the aluminum container it arrived in explode and spew vanilla all over my blending desk. Okay, it didn't really explode. There was a tiny pin hole in the bottom of the container and the contents leaked out over months -- no spewing either. It just sounds more dramatic when your raw materials have a life of their own and do things to you on purpose.

My point is that losing this stuff HURTS, dammit!! First my pocket book, and second, my heart. I mean, I get really attached to this stuff, they're like my little friends, my buddies. I remember crying once when I decanted a liter of patchouli and spilled an ounce or so all over my arm -- why? Because I had to wash it off! In my wildest dreams I'd love to bathe in patchouli oil, hell, show me a slip'n'slide covered in patchouli oil and I'm there! No, I cried because I had to wash it off. Because I had to use a kitchen towel to wipe up what dribbled onto the table and couldn't really make use of a kitchen towel as a fashion accessory. If I had used my shoes, for example, or my purse to wipe up the patchouli, I'd have been one happy perfumer! I have to admit, after washing the kitchen towel with the other kitchen towels, my kitchen towels, and my kitchen for that matter, smelled heavenly. Just as it did when the al embic vomited frankincense sludge all over the cabinets . . .


  1. Oh, dear... words really cannot express what's going through my head, but I've suffered this kind of loss. Half of my finished perfumes (as in, ready for bottling and sale) were decimated when I moved last year, and while that corner of the garage smells like a French cathouse at happy hour, I feel like I'm developing an ulcer every time I run the washing machine.

    I think the worst thing I've spilled was a bottle of oud tincture. And because it was a tincture, there was no getting it back. There was no removing the work surface and stuffing that into a small bottle to retincture it. It wasn't like the time I slopped myrrh onto a stack of perfume blotters and was able to save the situation by snipping the myrrh-gooed pieces and putting those into a jar with etoh. Nope, that oud was gone. And my work surface smelled like ass for weeks, because it was a poor-quality oud with the skatoles cranked up to 11.

  2. Say it ain't so! I was just on your site last night looking for THIS perfume. Gah!

  3. Sara, I could go on and on about the rarities I've spilled or lost (remember that apple blossom concrete? still haven't found it), but it's too depressing.

    My heart hit the ground when I saw that near empty swill bottle that was full no less than three weeks ago. I can't imagine my reaction had all my bottles gone dry or lost or broken -- man.

    Tinctures are the worst! Impossible to save, and as your work table experience attests, pretty difficult to rid the space of persistent unwanted scents. Especially something that smells that whack.

  4. Lisa, it's so. I'm really bummed. I'll probably have another batch ready to go in about two months -- first I will procrastinate, as is my normal modus operandi, then I will order what I'm low on, then I will procrastinate some more, then I will pull out the formulary, bang my head on the blending desk a few times in frustration, and then set to the work of realizing Khamsa again. Then it's into the zippy zapper for some lovin', and voila! It'll be ready.

    I'm kidding. I'm actually starting it on Monday when the new supplies start coming in :)



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