Sunday, May 30, 2010

Winners of Perfume Sample Giveaway

Selected randomly by, the winners are:

Ane Walsh
Earthly Reality
Scentual Soundtracks
Mama G

Congratulations to the winners, and to those who didn't win this time around, please watch for new sample giveaways in the near future -- there is a gingered amber in the works, an East Indian incense fragrance, a tea blend fragrance, and possibly the resurrection of Ianthe the Violet Nymph, and some boronia cologne.

Winners, please send me your addresses at:

Thank you all!

Friday, May 28, 2010

New Perfume ~ Samples Giveaway!

As promised, a new perfume and samples of that perfume given away to ten lucky recipients.

The new perfume is Khodum, the servant spirit of the djinn. Based on a brief written by NNAPA perfumery student, Dimitrios Dimitriadis, this perfume is dark and mysterious, mutable, changing from notes of badiane to notes of ambrette to notes of vanilla and tuberose, nutmeg and sour notes of apple, like waves, in, then out, then in . . . . evoking beauty in the hand of wickedness.

Made of spice and earth, subterranean shadows of anise and musky ambrette, lush florals, transient mosses, and sour notes of apple and davana.

Key notes: badiane, ambrette, tuberose, spiced florals and *apple blossom.

I am giving away 10 samples of this new perfume before it is introduced to the world ~ for your chance to win a sample, comment on this post.

*The apple blossom concrete used in this formulation was a rare find, offered by a fellow perfumer a few years ago in a group buy. Apparently, this "batch" was the only one ever produced, an experiment, really. And now that's it. No more apple blossom concrete. It smells like Granny Smith apples, the scent is fleeting, lasting a short time, before dwindling to a soft, musty, flat fruit scent, which also disappears in a short period of time. The benefit is in the opening, offering the perfume a sour apple note on the top that fades to floral muskiness and dark badiane.

Ingredients: Base of organic grain alcohol, rose petal tincture, hyacinth evulsion, blue lotus, jasmine grandiflorum, black currant, tuberose, badiane, vanilla, almond, green cognac, oakmoss, blond tabac, ambrette, apple blossom concrete, petitgrain bigarade, neroli, cinnamon, lemon petitgrain, allspice, nutmeg & davana.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Distilling, Formulating and Teaching

Since yesterday I've been distilling the farm-grown rose geranium on very, very low heat. Thus far I have less than 100 mls of hydrosol with a quite thick layer of greenish blue essential oil. And there's still a huge garbage bag full of uncut rose geranium to put into the al embic. Methinks this will go on for a day or so longer.

There are still tons of projects to catch up on, some shipping to do, some evaluating, and finally the batching of Kho-- the new parfum extrait. My self-imposed time line for new perfume completion ends in August as there are four new perfumes in the works, two complete formulations that have been sent off to points across the globe to joyous reception, and two still in the formulation stage. So, by the end of summer, there will be four new perfumes at The Scented Djinn Etsy Apothecary. Go Djinn!

As I said in an earlier post, the soap making class went well. Better than expected, though I honestly didn't have a lot of expectations. I figure it's soap, I've been "doing" soap for over a decade; aside from the issues relating to safety and the dreaded lye, there wasn't much to be nervous or stressed out over. Except it was unusually cold and I stupidly wore flip-flops, not an optimal footwear choice for either cold weather or the handling of dangerous caustic chemicals.

The new year-long perfumery course is going beautifully. We're only a few days in and already the student's avid curiosity and deep passion for perfume are being revealed. It's fulfilling to work with people whose zeal for the art form matches my own. The excitement and intensity, lust, really, that they have for perfumery is inspiring. It turns a faltering flame into an inferno.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book & Fragrance Giveaway at Hortus Conclusus

The book "Rebecca" and a handful of fragrance samples are the giveaway subjects at Hortus Conclusus' fragrance blog. Go enter!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday's Soap Class

Early last week I received word from Intermountain Nursery that the class had sold out, then on Thursday night I got a call from K at the Nursery that there was a drop-out, so that put the class at nine, which I was completely happy with. But yesterday when I got to the Nursery, I found that there were 11 students! And I had only made ten primers. But it turned out that there was a couple there and they shared a primer, so everyone was able to walk away armed with the basics of cold process soap making. The class, thankfully, didn't last from 9:30 to 3pm as posted, wrapping up some time around 1:30 or so. It was an unusual day for May, the coldest on record for us, from what I heard. We had a fire pit and a propane heater warming us on the patio for the entire day. I taught perfumery formulating techniques to create the scent for the soap and let one group of students create the top notes, another group the heart notes, and another the base notes. The scent turned out beautifully and several students wrote down the formulary to recreate later. It was a great class, the students couldn't have been better; curious, attentive, excited to be there. My assistant, Becca, whom I forgot to introduce to the class, was very helpful -- she was always there to take away a dirty bowl or measuring cup to wash and return clean, moving bottles and buckets around so the students could have better access to the soap pot. I think we made a great team.

We made two soaps, one with salts in the base, and one to practice swirling. Both are quite artistic and beautiful, I think.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Eval Kits

The only thing missing from this picture are the scent strips, and you!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

In the Merry, Merry Month of May . . .

Maybe I should amend that title to, "In the Busy, Busy Month of May!" My only consolation is that it's almost over, or, rather, just beginning. The evaluation kits for the year-long course are very nearly done -- it's difficult to accurately fill orders when you've no idea how many orders there are! The Academy has allowed a few additional people who'd shown interest in the course very early on to get back on board after having "uncommitted". So. That means a few extra kits, a few extra workbooks, and a lot more work for me. I'm not complaining. Just getting a little cross-eyed with the dainty-work. This may be just a tiny bit more stress than I'm prepared to handle. I know it is when I dream about the work, then wake up almost as tired as I went to bed, only to start over again in reality. I can't believe I'm actually going to do all this again in September. But! As much as I'm whining, I wouldn't want to have it any other way. Thanks to Trish's lovely review of my perfumes, I've been dealing with the creative end of the business as well. A welcome respite from the grind. And, of course, encouraged to finish up with the perfumes waiting their turn on the runway. Last evening one of my sons stopped by for a short visit and was drawn into the studio by the aromatic wonders that live there. I sprayed him with a large bottle of eau fraiche I'd made for myself, a combination of that gorgeous new tuberose, a bit of patchouli and a drop of vanilla absolute. I don't think I've ever seen the boy quite so blissful. He literally walked around the house for the rest of the night with his spritzed arm up to his nose. He was also quite intrigued by the new perfume workbooks stacked neatly on the cabinet. Some of my children show some appreciation for their mother's talents, having a few talents of their own, they understand the importance of recognition. And some of my children behave, well, differently.

"You wrote that book, mom?"

"Yes," I answered, thrilled that she would even comment on it.

"Oh. Hm. Well, okay. Can I have a couple bucks for a bag of hot Cheetos?"

Photo by Sarah Ballance, photographer. Subject: The Blissful Son showing off his talents.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Interview at Winged Seed

I was recently interviewed by Marcia Elston who owns and operates Samara Botane, and writes the blogs Aromaconnection and Winged Seed.

My interview is here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Scent Hive

Trish Vawter, lover and blogger (Scent Hive) of Natural Botanical Perfumes, has been interviewed by Donna Hathaway of the Portland Examiner (Donna also writes for Perfume Smellin' Things). It's wonderful to see people who work so hard to bring our work out of the dark and into the light getting a little light of their own. Congratulations Trish!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Soap Class is SOLD OUT!

The soap class I'm teaching on May 22nd sold out! With an extra student to boot! I'm excited now.

New Perfume

Thanks to that lovely tuberose (did you ever think you'd see those words on my blog?) the East Indian Vrindaban inspired perfume is closer to production. Earlier in the blog I posted a pictorial of diluting solids -- it's the champaka going into this perfume. But since this one is to be more green and earthy, a bit of galbanum and patchouli are going in as well, and a few other things. Can't give away too much, now can I? When it's done, I'll make up 10 - 2ml vials to give away here on the blog. I haven't chosen a name for this one yet, so maybe with the help of the author of the brief (an avid incense lover) and the 10 recipients of samples, we can come up with something appropriate. Watch for it in about four weeks . . . until then.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Passion for Natural Botanical Perfumery

Filling Vials

Here is a pictorial of the process used to fill vials for the NNAPA perfume course evaluation kits. The first time I did this, there were twice the number of evaluation materials, somewhere in the neighborhood of 104 different essences. This time it was pared down to the most useful for a beginning perfumer, and some rare little gems that for reasons of cost a beginner might not have the opportunity to study right away. Like that gorgeous tuberose . . . this kit contains 57 essences from 12 categories; floral, rose floral, orange floral, citrus, woods, animalic, mint, herbal, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It took about 10 days of 4 to 6 hour sessions to finish up that earlier vial filling escapade -- so far, it's taken only two days -- two-and-a-half days, really -- to fill this batch, in part because I followed Marge Clark's advice on how to fill a lot'a vials at once without getting a blister on thethumb and getting through it in a timely manner. Drill a bunch of little holes into a piece of wood, make sure they're just a titch bigger than the vials and deep enough that about 3/4ths of the vial is in wood, fill them up, set the closures on top and use another piece of wood (or in my case, the bottom of a bottle) to push the closures into the vials. I drilled holes into my unfinished perfumer's organ, which I was thinking of tossing but now have reconsidered and may turn it into a shelf and use for when students come to the studio. And then there is the next session of vial filling that needs consideration . . . anyway, this time around the filling went off without a hitch (thanks Marge!) and it's fairly well on its way to being done. Enjoy the process.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuberose. Tuberose! TUBEROSE! I take it all back!

I do. I take back all the nasty comments about tuberose's "wienie water" smell and sharp metallic twang. I finally found a tuberose I can live with, and dreamy delicious it is. Decadently floral, heavy, white, a fuzzy warm blanket of pink tinged sweetness and heady-like-the-honeysuckle-blooming-at-my-front-door, drenched in honey and -- and -- and -- yeah, it's like that. So like that.

Tuberose. My new best friend.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Don't RUSH Me!

Two more major projects to finish up within the next day or two, and then I'm ready to make the dilutions for the kits. Yes, I know. I'm a little behind schedule. That's what I get for lining up too many projects at once. But as I've said before, I work better under pressure, even though it makes me want to scream and pull out my hair.

And, aside from those two projects, and the building of course kits, which once they are done are jetting off to points across the globe ASAP (because the course begins the 24th!), I have a soap making class to teach on the 22nd for which I need to make soap; two perfumes, one in the final stages of completion, and another in the beginning stages, to get done and marketed, and a magazine to put together (which was supposed to be done and done in April).

I've been lax on keeping up with LPR (Le Parfumeur Rebelle online education site) and I deeply apologize for that. It began with computer issues, then the magazine idea, and then general busy-ness kept me from making too many changes and additions to the site. Oh, and then life, y'know. Life? LPR needs a lot of updating. And revamping. And I suspect I will do all that, say, in June or July?

But right now all I really want to do is finish those perfumes and start on a couple of others still waiting to be born. And I want to liven things up here, on Oh, True Apothecary! So -- how about a giveaway? Let's say a 5 ml bottle of Sahar Eau de Parfum and a 5 ml bottle of Jameel Eau de Parfum? Sounds good. Leave a comment and use the word "procrastinator" in a sentence within your comment and you'll be automatically entered. I know, I make things so difficult . . . Good luck!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Soap Making Class & Music to Go With It!

Yes, yes, I'm teaching a soap making class over at the Intermountain Nursery in Prather, CA on May 22, 2010. The class is estimated to run from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm or thereabouts, and we're going to learn to make gorgeous soaps using perfumery techniques to scent them, plus a few tricks about adding herbs and salts and clays into the mix. Should be fun, yes? For more information, or to sign up for the class, go here and find the button for the class schedule, which I believe is on the right toward the middle to bottom of the page. See you there!

Now for your listening pleasure:


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