Monday, March 28, 2011

Perfume Giveaway


March 31st is the date set for the drawing at the Perfume Pharmer blog for the winner of the perfume All In Green by Parfum Phyto, perfumer Yuko Fukami of Berkeley, CA. You must, must, must visit this website if you want to be introduced to some of the newest and best NBP's and niche perfumers. There are always perfume giveaways going on there -- always -- samples and full bottles. Get on over there and peruse!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Chillin' and Crushin' on Perfumers

This weekend has been a boon to me for perfume arrivals. I've gotten two parcels, well, three-- oops! Four!-- crammed to the edges with all sorts of smelly goodness. Can't say much more than that because they are out for review, and one is being sent off to another reviewer to review. All I can say is that I associate with some fabulous artisans.

Head's up, y'all ~ lots of perfume reviewing going on, and brainstorming future creations for TSD, AND really wringing the hands over the scent event/perfume exhibition in May.

Funny note ~ a friend called the other day and asked if I was holding the scent event at my house, and I had to tell her, no way, too much going on here at any given time, too much people traffic and people stuff everywhere, and she said, "What, like a kid will run through the house covered in poop?", and it's true, yeah, I'd be afraid of something that ridiculous. Not that it would ever happen, the poop thing, but mud or craft paint or molasses or honey or glue? Yeah, that could happen. My house is off limits to the consuming public ~ ha!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Uh-huh! A New Interview!


I was interviewed by Scentual Soundtracks, and here it is ~ Scentual Soundtracks.

More Perfumery and Things

Perfume Pharmer is a blog hosted by Monica Skye Miller of Skye Botanicals and supporter of Natural Botanical Perfumers of all ilks. If you've ever been curious about a NBP, how their perfumes smell, their aesthetic, this is where you go to find out. Why? Because this blog is on the giveaway wagon! There are several perfume giveaways going on here at any given time, and they're not only naturals.There are some "mixed media" perfumes there as well. If you're someone who wants to learn more about NBP, enter a drawing there. If you're someone who already knows what's going on and want to sample from peers, enter a drawing there. If you're a perfume whore who simply adores having a little variety on the vanity, enter a drawing there. You get the picture?

My vetiver plants arrived and I'm plotting what to do with them. We have a low spot in the backyard that always gets flooded when it rains. In fact, several years ago we built a sump, a big hole filled with gravel and river rock to help drain some of the water. It's worked well for the past few years, but the rains we've been getting lately have really stretched its capacity. The water can't drain through the soil quickly enough to allow more water to accumulate in the sump. Anyway, that's where three of the six vetiver plants I have will go. In the swamp. The other three will be planted in big planter boxes or containers so I can harvest the roots. I hear vetiver turns into a monster grass -- really looking forward to it!

I received a parcel of fougere perfumes in the post yesterday -- my, my, my! I'm thinking fougere is my new favorite perfume family. There wasn't a single perfume in the batch that wasn't absolutely delicious! I wore one to bed last night and it reminded me of being young and going out dancing, my arms wrapped around a warm, cologne-drenched stranger-man, my head swimmy with the scent of him (and a few tequila shots!) Oh, the folly of youth. Yeah, it's nice when fragrance takes you someplace lovely.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. I committed a most serious offence -- I started a Twitter account. I'm ashamed. Having said that, if you'd like to read my tweets, you can find me on Twitter, The Scented Djinn. Chirp!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Perfumery and Other Things

I haven’t been as devoted a blog writer here of late, and I’d like to apologize to those of you who come here to laugh at my ridiculous, sometimes only slightly perfume related ramblings. Sorry! I’ve been working on several projects, not the least of which is this scent event/perfume exhibition I scheduled in May, which is quickly followed by a soap making class the next weekend. I’ve designed post cards and flyers for the perfume exhibition, and I’ve already sent invitations to the local Chambers of Commerce (Fresno and Clovis), the local newspaper, the local art’s council and an art council with which I have some familiarity in Madera, CA, and to the Tower District Marketing Committee. And I’ve handed out flyers. Hundreds and hundreds of flyers. Back in my multi-level marketing days, one of the tenets of selling effectively required talking and spreading the word – the doctrine was that for every 100 contacts/leads you met with, ten would respond, and out of those ten, one would actually sign on or buy the product you’re selling. This is why I’m handing out HUNDREDS of flyers. For example, of the 700+ “friends” I have on Facebook, seven have tentatively committed to attending, another 14 or so are “maybes”, and some 84 have declined, while yet another 600 or so have yet to respond to the invitation. Of the seven who have RSVP’d the event, perhaps two or three will actually show up. And again with those flyers. Hundreds and hundreds of flyers.

And I’m sweating the details. What to serve that falls within the category of “perfumed refreshments”, as stated on those flyers. I’m thinking one savory, one sweet, like a shortbread or a butter cookie, and one decadent chocolate thing of osmanthus or a conifer – fir balsam? I do so love the combination of these two essences (see Serj at www.thescenteddjinn.com and All In Green at Parfum Phyto at Etsy.com). And teas that correspond to the notes in the perfumes I’m bringing. And the extractor exhibition, and hydrosols, and just everything!

And on top of THAT, familial upheavals strike again. I have half my son’s furniture crammed to the rafters in my garage and perfume studio, so even if I wanted to, I couldn’t get to my blending station. It would have all been moved to his new home in the mountains days ago but the rain just won’t let up, and half the mountain roads are blocked or shut down due to mud slides and wash outs. Twice in three days we’ve had crazy hailstorms dumping an inch or two of hail at a time and leaving the streets as rivers and yards as swamps. And constant drizzling rain. All my jonquil and wild hyacinth and paperwhites have come up, but I can’t enjoy them because I’d have to blow up the raft and paddle out to the planter box to get to them!

Oh, and I’ve been writing reviews and articles for Perfume Pharmer, which is really fun. I like writing for other venues. It gives me an opportunity to really dig my nails into a subject, which I write about extensively, and then edit to death. *sigh!*

On a less frantic and stressful note, I recently received a thumb’s up from a fellow perfumer about a sample of my newest fougere parfum I sent her – she said it smelled like Brut! She said not to think of it as a put-down because Grasse perfume instructors consider Brut to be a classic, perfect fougere fragrance, and they use it to demonstrate what a fougere parfum really is. Good to know.

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Website for The Scented Djinn


The Scented Djinn ~ this site has links on the home page which take you to the perfumery and apothecary.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What's say we all pray for Japan.

On the perfume front:

RE: Fougere projects; one down, two to go, and more ideas swirling in my mind than I can pin down -- my notebook suffers abusive jabs with a multitude of pens and pencils, scribbled notes proclaiming, "mountain misery!" and, "how could you have forgotten vetvyer?", or "it's all in the khus, man, it's all in the khus . . ." and "ossssssmaaaaanthuuuuussss!, my precious".

The NBP community is buzzing. There are projects and showcases and events and blogging like mad and favors to ask and favors to give and this article due and that article needs starting and research and discoveries and involvement. Involvement. I'm loving it. The energy and the dynamics are amazing.

One of my soap classes has been rescheduled from April to some time in May due to a conflict of events occurring in April with the venue. I'll make the new date announcement when the venue sets it. The May 14th Scent Event/Perfume Exhibition is gaining momentum. This week I send out post cards to local businesses and newspapers. My mother suggested I invite the Aunties, so I guess I'm going to do that too. At this point, I'm too exhausted to be nervous, but I'm certain I'll get there, like two minutes before I begin to greet guests, I'll just lose it. Ha!

I have a lot to be grateful for.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Soap

Soap is a lifelong love of mine. Making it, using it, using other brilliantly made handmade soap . . . there's something magical about it. It's basic chemistry, yes, but there's something else in there, something that moves beyond chemistry, something of the spiritual bent.

Anastasia Angelopolous of Chant Aromatics (eleneetha at Etsy) has it down. She's elevated the art of soap making to another level, and I often try to emulate her techniques -- usually just singing to the soap or clearing my mind and meditating a bit before starting on a batch. I normally use just three basic oils/butters -- organic virgin olive, organic coconut and organic cocoa butter. Every so often I'll throw in some hemp oil or butter, some shea, a little kokum, sweet almond, rose hip seed oil, olive leaf infused olive, but I more than usually just stick the the solid three ~ovoo, oc and oca. And sometimes, every blue moon or so, I make something absolutely spectacular. Like the rose soap I made last year with real rose oil, rose absolute, rose floral wax and every other rosy smelling eo I could get my hands on, and a pot load of patchouli. Today the fabu soap is this one, Dervish, a blend of the solid three and two of the most lush eo's I could dig up from the apothecary -- davana and Himalayan cedar wood. Davana is multi-faceted, it's fruity, piquant, pitchy and screamin', while the Himalayan cedar is smooth, creamy, mellow and sensual. The two combined create something entirely different, something alive and meditative, a soakin' scent. It smells floral and fruity, creamy and rich, like sandalwood, it's buttery and mouthwatering.

Years ago, when I had my shop, Delicia ~ A Natural Skin Care Delicatessen, I made a Neapolitan ice cream soap using davana in the strawberry layer of the soap, and it worked beautifully -- a little davana, a little pink grapefruit, a little lemon, a dash of vanilla, and voila! Strawberry! It was a hit. That soap was made in big blocks, so when a customer wanted some, we'd have to make this big production of taking the soap to the marble slap and cutting off a piece and weighing it out (we sold the soap by the oz). It was quite something, working in that shop, getting to be there when a customer experienced the fragrances of everything in the shop -- the soaps, the body butters, balms, and the smattering of Natural Botanical Perfumes we offered. I'm worming my way back into the Tower District and am eyeballing a very small space to rent, so my aspirations of being a shop keep may be coming true once again.

I'm working furiously to get all my ducks in a row for the scent event I've planned for May 14th. I recently found out that the weekend I scheduled the event is also the same weekend that Fresno hosts its annual Pirate gathering. So my competing event (and we're both in the same neighborhood) is a gathering of tavern wenches and peg-legged hairy dudes with eye patches. Stiff competition indeed.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Natural Botanical Perfume Exhibition, Fresno, CA


Natural Botanical Perfume Exhibition

May 14, 2011

2 pm


Tower District
835 Van Ness Avenue
Fresno, CA
93728

Natural Botanical Perfumes are made using ancient alchemy and modern French perfumery techniques to create a purely natural botanical fragrance. Come join us for an afternoon of perfume sampling, and to talk with Natural Botanical Perfumer Justine Crane of The Scented Djinn about her inspiration for creating her beautiful natural botanical perfumes.


Space is limited, so please RSVP to justine@thescenteddjinn.com or 559-720-5504 by May 10, 2011

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Scent Event


I know, I can be obsessive sometimes, and planning for this scent event is really kicking the obsessive demons into high gear.

I'm worrying over every little detail -- seating, what perfumed food samples to provide, what products to showcase, what to talk about! Mostly what to talk about. Folks are popping out of the woodwork to help put this together, offering catering services, help decorating, sending out flyers and invitations, help as "wait staff". It's overwhelming but oh, so welcome. The one thing, the most important thing that nobody else can do for me is put on the talk. That I have to do on my own. Sweaty palms, blushing skin, trembling lips and all.

*So, what will I talk about? My journey to and through NBP? Is it that interesting? What I "know"? My level of expertise? Or do I just pitch a sale? No, that doesn't sound right. When I teach soap making, I pepper the lesson with a lot of "when I first began making soap" anecdotes -- like "when I first began making soap, I used tallow" then going into details about what an absolute joke that was; the house filling with the scent of rancid fat; the kids bouncing into the house thinking mom was making homemade pork rinds; the hard as a rock, curling edged, lavender and greasy diner scented soap that resulted from all that work.

Poring over old notes might help with the anecdotal stuff, and cracking open the newest version of the perfume book can offer a current eye on the issue. Do I scare the beejeezus out of them with IFRA notes? Or speak of the glory and mystery of ancient perfume making? If I were to do all, it would take an entire weekend and my schedule doesn't allow for that kind of privilege . . .

I'm off to fougere land to put together a few ferny things. Mosses and ferns and black earth and sweet flowers, irridescent blue dragonflies standing tip toe on the end of a cedar branch, and speckle backed lady bugs crawling from the stump of a dessicated redwood. Ah, fougere.

Right now I'm babysitting Bug, one of the newest members of the family, and she's really distracting me with her grumbling, rumbly, snoozy snoring, breathy moans of sleep. Time to sign off.

*The really funny thing is, I actually wrote a great piece on marketing in person that outlines exactly what you should talk about while conducting an exhibition/scent event -- goes to show the obsessive control of the fear of letting people down can be paralyzing. Guess I'd better get to reading my article, eh?

Friday, March 04, 2011

Hoodoo ~ Prosperity ~ Mojo ~ Conjuration

And a giveaway at Perfume Pharmer ~ enter for your chance to win a 5 ml bottle of The Scented Djinn's prosperity themed perfume, Ghusun (a limited, limited edition parfum).

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

May Scent Event in Fresno, CA

A tentative date of Saturday, May 14, 2011 has been set as the day I attempt to pull off a scent event; an exposition, if you will, of and about Natural Botanical Perfumery. There are several options for advertising here, all of which will cost me paper and ink and a little pavement pounding. The setting for this late spring soiree is in the famous Tower District in Fresno, in the garden of a mansion built in the 1920's. I need to keep this simple. No admission, yet reservations must be made, and scented food samples will be served, as well as perfume (and tea?) samples. I'm courting the local tea house to find out if they'd be interested in co-hosting the event -- an afternoon of fragrant offerings of tea and perfume! I will talk about NBP, and if the tea people are interested, they will talk about tea, and hopefully by the afternoon's end, we will both have a few new customers, and some new found interest in what we create.

Keep your fingers and toes crossed.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Winter Garden Blues


Ooh, I miss the dirt, baby,
And I miss the mud too.
Yeah, I miss the dirty, baby,
And I miss that nasty mud too.

If I don't get out in that garden soon, baby,
I'm not gonna have anything to put in my stew.

Eh. Haha!

This must be my off week. I seeded 72 of those little mulch pellets with purple carrots, heirloom tomatoes, lettuces and a variety of other early garden goodies, and then they sprouted and I stuck them outside while it was warm and sunny -- and forgot to bring them back in. And they froze to death.

Back to square, or rather mulch pellet, number one. Some of the sprouts survived. The cucumbers and the carrots. And maybe one lettuce. Perhaps I jumped the gun on this. I've done it before. Planted before the last hard freeze and ended up with low producing stunted veg plants. Not good when you're relying on the garden to feed you 9 months of the year. On an up note, the red clover I spread out front is sprouting and thriving. Red clover tea for soap! Red clover tea for drinking. Red clover balm.

I'm working on a fougere study at the moment. Several projects all came up at once with the fougere theme and I decided to jump in with both feet, with the intent to create three distinctive fougere style parfums. O' the oakmoss -- I'm currently in love with oakmoss. I have an aged tincture of the stuff from oakmoss I gathered in the foothills six years ago. I also have an antique dilution of oakmoss resin, and a bit of "fresh" oakmoss. Bergamot isn't giving me thrills lately, pushing some of my compositions into a flat, linear blandness that is only "fixed" with lots of aging. But lavender is -- giving me thrills, that is -- well, lavandin grosso, actually. Geez Louise, is there a more fabulous lavender smell than lavandin grosso? It's edible and luscious and creamy and floral and visceral. I think I have a smidge of heliotrope natural isolate that I'd like to incorporate into at least one of the fougeres. I want one fougere to be open and clean, fresh, with rose and carnation and geranium; another leaning more toward the musc end of the spectrum with heavy orange blossom, gardenia-like floral notes, and another that typifies the fougere family -- hay, fern, moss, deer's tongue, clary . . . what a lovely family, those Fougeres.

Now I'm off in search of hyacinth to distill. All those bulbs I've purchased over the last few years have sprouted, both here at the home perfumery, and at mother's. Some have reverted to their wild status, producing only three or five little flowers, while others are still producing those big bottle brush heads full of flowers. The bulbs in the herb box out back can't make up their mind if they're ready to do anything, while mother's paperwhites have already made an appearance and are stinking up the place. Imagine the hydrosol, if you will. Nice, eh?

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