Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 66 ~ One Year, One Nose

Galbanum Resinoid ~ Essencia ~ 10% dilution



Galbanum, what an odd bird she is. Attractive and repulsive all at once, a Mae West kind of personality.  No disrespect to Ms. West, but she was 'out there', as they say; ahead of her time, gorgeous and raunchy, never afraid to speak her mind or face the consequences of doing so. Galbanum's a bit like that. You get drawn in, then when you're close enough, galbanum sucker punches you, then plants a wet one on your surprised open mouth. She's screechy. There are these overarching tendrils of smooth tobacco green notes that form a loose net over the harsher notes of bitter, pitchy (screechy-screamin') resin. Galbanum can be tamed, her talons clipped through careful coupling with fatty, round, and floral notes ~ rose, carnation, vanilla, butter CO2, orris, jasmine grandiflorum, mimosa. Therein lies the allure. That she can be made happy with flowers, but still remain dangerous. What a gal!

Galbanum ~ heady tobacco-green notes, dense leafy green notes, musky green notes, touch of the airier notes of cardamom, titch of cigarette butt and lawn clippings. A little green-eyed devil, she is.

She's a very kinky girl,
The kind you don't take home to mother.
She will never let your spirits down,
Once you let her off the streets.

She's a super freak,
Super freak,
She's super freaky,
Yeow!







Thursday, April 26, 2012

Six Impossible Things

"Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Alice in Wonderland.

Six impossible things before breakfast. And with only a half an hour to believe them! I am inspired, even if this is a fictional character speaking. Think of the possibilities you open for yourself if you take these words to heart. Six impossible things before breakfast. A year ago I wouldn't have thought it possible that I could live on my own, but I do. I wouldn't have believed I could get a decent job, but I have. I wouldn't have believed that I could ride a bicycle to and fro, but I do. I wouldn't have believed that I could become even more enamored with scent, but I have. Four impossible things before winter. 

Learning a little about Zen is helping with my impossible things to believe. Letting go of beliefs about myself that aren't true has helped immensely. I am currently finding my true space within this NBP world. Where I fit. Who I am on the imaginary hierarchy, or if I'm even there at all. I am learning to believe it doesn't matter. Well, it's beginning to not matter to me. Too much of the ebb and flow can wash blessings up to your feet, and the next moment they are swept away. The pain that it causes to watch all the stuff that have attached themselves to us, or more true, what we have become attached to, being swept away is excruciating -- and not real. We are who we are because we believe we are. Keep telling yourself that, and make it good. In the meantime, the sweet peas bloom!

Last year I co-tinctured sweet pea blossoms and sweet orange blossoms and the results are -- interesting. Upon first sniff, it smells a bit like a puppy breath. Yup. Musty halitosis with a splash of warm milk. But as the alcohol evaporates and the scent begins to 'stick', it changes. It begins to smell of sweet pea and dried flowers, the scent there but distant, and then the oddest thing happens -- it expands. The scent grows. It's wild. Sweetly floral yet indistinct -- what flower is it? Yummy delicious crazy stuff.

Day 65 ~ One Year, One Nose

Carrot Seed


Carrot seed oil is a complicated little bugger. It does not smell of carrot. But it does smell of the earth. It has a richness to its tonality, like a bag of potting soil that has sat warming in the sun, it's that wonderful living earth smell that is released when the bag is opened that carrot seed possesses. Living earth touched by chilly air. It's magical. Carrot seed is sweet, and for some reason I'm reminded of mallow. Carrot seed is a bridge scent in perfumery as it pulls together the head and heart notes, and again with the heart and base notes. It's a ring-around-the-rosie hand-holding little fool! Indispensable sweet, earthy, uplifting, breathy, rooty, spicy, citrusy -- all that.

I've been thinking of ways to remind myself about all the stuff I shouldn't be putting in my mouth (I'm talking about food here, so get your mind out of the gutter) -- like sugar, as in added to coffee/tea, et al; chips, soda, cookies, cake, all that kind of stuff. And you're probably wondering why I need a reminder not to do eat those things and here's the deal -- I have ADD. Always have. All those things I mentioned make it worse, but I also crave the hell out of them! I find the more wholesome foods I ingest, the better my concentration becomes, not to mention my weight drops, my skin becomes luminous, my breath doesn't smell like I've licked a donkey's buttocks, and my hair comes alive -- like Medusa. So I need reminders. I find the only way I can get things done is to write them down in detail, so I've begun doing that. But for this, I need a constant reminder. Something I don't have to dig out of a backpack or a handbag or briefcase. I believe another tattoo is in order, a reminder tattoo, something small and clearly visible, at least to me. I've chosen to have a tiny little carrot tattooed on my left inside wrist. I chose this spot because it is also where I write notes to myself at work to remind me to do things once I'm home. I've literally come home with a list of things on my wrist that read:

curtain rod
chicken breast
doohicky for fireplace grate
soap!
no sugar!
bathroom scale

It works. Though sometimes I don't remember to write 'no sugar!' and I come home and drink a few glasses of orange juice (big sugar no-no), or whip up a batch of sugar cookies so I can test drive a new flavoring essence. Then when dinner rolls around, my resolve is totally broken and I hop into a plate of pasta and butter sauce like there's no tomorrow.

I'm curious how my 'tattoo diet' will work. At the very least, I will have an adorable carrot adorning my naked wrist.


*Illustration from Beatrix Potter book

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Extractor Contraption

Guess what? I still haven't had the opportunity to use my butane extractor. Conditions never seem right, and I don't create a situation in which they would be right -- I always find a reason to do this 'later'. I don't really know what I'm afraid of. Maybe that it won't work? That in order to obtain anything useful I'd have to use the thing 30 times in a row in a single sitting? Then I have to remind myself, nothing in this business comes easy. Absolutely nothing. Take distillation, for example. That takes all day long. No joke. And then it requires hours of babysitting and fussing around with valves and water levels and seepage. Creating perfume can take months, even years, to get the formulation right where you want it. So why was I thinking extracting my own oils was going to be any different than everything else I do? Maybe it boils down to one of my biggest character problems -- the fear of success. One might think the fear of failure would stop me trying something new, but that's not the case at all. I'm good at failing. Hell, I fail at something 10 times before breakfast every day, so failure is a friend to me -- a not so welcome friend, but a friend nonetheless. It's success that scares the pants off me. Because if I succeed in extracting beautiful, useable oils with my little honey bee extractor gadget, I will become obsessed. I don't handle obsession well. My environment suffers from my obsessions. People are ignored, situations are left to play out on their own with negative results, the house begins to show signs of neglect, dishes piling up and all that, and I am unstoppable in my single mindedness.

And yet again, I've laid the foundation for creating another bad condition in which to begin using the extractor. Puh!

I just need to get around myself.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 64 ~ One Year, One Nose

Cocoa Absolute


I remember 'back in the day' when having a bottle of cocoa absolute to formulate soap scents was like having a bottle of sandalwood, or a really great bottle of patchouli, or -- well, you get where this is goin', right? So, yeah, cocoa absolute was a must-have in the artisanal soapmaker's arsenal. When I had the shop, Delicia, here in the Tower District, one of our best sellers, especially around the holidays, was the cocoa-mint soap and body butter combo. People were just nuts for them and I couldn't keep the stuff on the shelves. That was back when I had a river of creative ideas that I was at my leisure to play out. I even made a soap loaf that was made from all natural scenting materials to create a Neopolitan ice cream 'flavored' soap -- the vanilla layer was heavy with vanilla infusion oil and fat, juicy Madagascar vanilla beans macerated to a pulp, with a pinch of vanilla absolute; davana and vanilla and red mandarin made up the strawberry portion of the scent (and it worked), and lastly, cocoa absolute with a bit of vanilla infusion oil made the chocolate portion. Adults were intrigued by the scent and appearance, but it was the little ones who really went bonkers for it. These days, however, my lonely bottle of cocoa absolute is rarely chosen for formulation, but it is often picked up and sniffed just for the decadence factor. Cocoa absolute smells of the richest dark chocolates, sweet, earthy, nutty, floral; there is an elegance about it on dilution, like it is a thousand scents rolled into one and chocolate is the least important. On the dilution, cocoa absolute lends a smoothness to a perfume formulation, much in the same way as vanilla, but less linear. It is possible to include cocoa absolute in a formulation and stump people as to just what that particular nuance is -- is it a sweet earthy element? a rare flower? the butter of a fatty nut?

Day 63 ~ One Year, One Nose

Spearmint ~ Mentha Spicata


I'm particularly fond of spearmint. I've grown loads of the stuff, and have cleared a spot in the back for a mint garden, spearmint is to be among them. Spearmint's conjurations include, of course, chewing gum, and summers in the valley; hot, dry wind blowing across dry field grasses, the scent of spearmint gum keeping the heat at bay and warding off a desert dry mouth, the sight of the foothills in the not so distant horizon providing hope for cooler days to come. The scent conjures craft festivals of yore with displays of soap piled high in the booth of Sierra Soapourri, Poppymint soap in prominence, the stack dwindling faster than the rest until there is nothing there but the lingering scent of spearmint. I have made distillations of spearmint and peppermint to obtain the hydrosol and used it to cool a room, an overheated face, gardening-sore hands, and it never fails to do the trick. It's especially nice on feet when the heat gets to be too much, the AC's broken, and the ice-maker takes a vacation. Spearmint, oddly enough, is a dense, heavy scent, thick with high 'mint' notes and fatty, creamy almost vanilla-like base notes. Takes to dilution very well, in fact, needs it to release and open up all those airier mint notes and tone down the fatty low notes. Dilution frees the spirit of spearmint.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 62 ~ One Year, One Nose

Tagette (tagetes minuta)


I have a big bottle of Tagette. I've kept it stored in the mini-fridge because -- well, I don't know for certain why. To preserve it, I suppose. I was first introduced to the scent of Tagette when given a bar of soap from a soapmaker friend several years ago. It was a copy of sorts of the soap from Woodspirits called "Sun & Moon" wherein half of the soap was a deep cobalt blue, and the other half a bright cheery yellow. I just remember being completely in love with the bright cheery yellow half and discovering from the soapmaker friend that it was partially scented with Tagette oil.

Tagette oil is, unfortunately, photosensitizing and can cause dermal allergic reactions in some people. But since it is such a strongly scented oil, a dilution in, say, a soap blend would probably be the safest way to use it dermally. It has also been used as an insect repellent, and the leaves are used for culinary purposes.

Tagettes smells of marigold, but more specifically the combined scents of citrus rinds, sunshine, Italian basil, tarragon, and a metallic chewiness, not quite like mint, but that's the closest approximation I can think of. Or perhaps just a wicked hot, slightly minty basil.  Tagette smells of sunshine and shaded air, a yin and yang of warm and cool.

I'm waiting for someone to make a Tagette incense because I've not been able to find any online or anywhere else. Incensemakers, get crackin'. 


*The photos do not depict Tagette, they're just pretty sunny flowers in the garden. And an aphid.

Book Problems

Once again, I'm looking to reformat the perfume course book. I switched publishing companies and in the process lost valuable formatting capacity. Instead of introduction pages when the book is opened, the first Chapter begins. I need something that looks much more professional than what I have. And the book is in need of a re-write. And the cover art I chose is weird. The perfume book is already outdated, just since 2007/08. The workbook is fine since it is pretty straight-forward -- instructions and worksheets, that's it.

I have several copies of the latest incarnation of the perfume book, so I'm going to take my copy and start red marking it with revisions and additions.

And rattling around in my ever active frantic brain is another idea for a perfume book, something more public-worthy. But that's a bit away from now.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 61 ~ One Year, One Nose

Primordial Scent ~ Water



This isn't about water water, it's about the current scent status of my entry into the Primordial Scent Project hosted by Monica Skye Miller/Perfume Pharmer. I chose water almost immediately because at the time the choice was made, it suited my current headspace. It still suits. In that headspace, I associated water with the act of birth, of bringing life into the world in a gush. The most elemental, the most primal, of waters. And in that headspace, I was immediately taken deep into a dark forest where the scent of olive-toned mosses clinging to glistening wet rocks emanate a specific dankness that is very nearly the same as the scent of birth water. A perfect blend of swirling warm turquoise water, damp black earth, heady breathy-voiced mosses, airy feathery leafed pond foliage, and thick petaled lotus flowers reaching up toward the light. This isn't a scent of the sea, nor the rush of a rolling river. It is the scent of calm. The scent of expectation.

The Scented Djinn
Primordial Scent ~ Water
Scent Name ~ Lylli Bleu Eau de Parfum
Keynotes ~ Blue Lotus ~ Mitti ~ Santal ~ Neroli

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Article on Naturals

This article was published in The Ecologist. I find it odd that no natural perfumers were mentioned.

Repost 10/10 ~ Soaping with Nat-Iso's

Soaping with Natural Isolates ~ A Natural Perfumer's Dirty Little Secret

When I took Shelley Waddington's Natural Isolates course the thought that stood out most prominently in my mind was, "I get to make a real rose scented soap with natural extracted molecules that won't cost an arm and a leg and my first-born child!" And I have done just that. A new soap I call 'A Rose is a Rose' came to life with the help of very minimal amounts of diluted natural isolates phenyl ethyl alcohol, citronellol and citral.

Phenyl ethyl alcohol is derived from the fermentation of such oddities as apples, bananas and beer. Citronellol derives from citronella, and citral is derived from litsea cubeba. No bazillion year old dinosaur bones here.

The base for the soap was a basic 3 oil blend of organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil and organic mango butter. After it did it's thing, went into trace, that is, I added just a drizzling of coconut milk, then a scent blend of 1 ml rose de mai, 1 ml citronella, 1.5 mls rose geranium, 1 ml rose damask absolute, 1 ml 10% phenyl ethyl alcohol, 1 ml 10% citronellol, and 1 ml 10% citral. The resulting finished soap is a rose hit. Typically these rose blends using rose geranium tend to the geranium side, but this concoction does not. It is rose, straight away.

Now these are only three of four natural isolates I've used in compounding fragrance, though I've studied and written about the others (those in the kit from Shelley's course). A few that I see great potential in the future, if I get up the nerve to put them into something other than soap, that is, are:

Raspberry Ketone ~ I've had some past experience with this natural isolate. Last year a small candle company commissioned me to come up with a "berry" scented candle fragrance compound for them as part of their new product and business launch. The candle I compounded used a combination of natural isolates and a few (very few) synthetic aromachemicals. Though the final formulation was a hit with the two owners of the business, the business didn't survive the process of gathering capital and went tarts up, thus the formulation was forgotten. The experience of creating with raspberry ketone, however, was not. As Shelley instructs in her course, and which I did not know when using the raspberry k. a year ago, adding more to a formulation does not increase the strength of scent. It's a waste of materials. Raspberry ketone, strangely enough, is derived from aniseed oil. And here's a bit of baffling research I discovered while attempting to find alternate natural sources of raspberry ketone: Raspberry ketone methyl ether is also called anisyl acetone, methoxyphenal butanone, para anisyl acetone, and trademarked as Frambinon by Symrise. The only way to identify it as the same chemical is through the CAS #. The other Raspberry ketone, CAS # 5471-51-2, is chemically named 4-HydroxyPhenyl-2-Butanone, chemical formula C10 H12 O2, and it is a naturally sourced raspberry ketone. Apparently it's a different part of the fraction, thus the varying chemical names and CAS #'s. One is methoxy, the other is hydroxy. Are you following? I wrote it and I barely understand it!

I studied this one a little more than the rest because I thought that someday, besides the day I made a berry candle formulation with it, I might use it in a perfume. But while researching and falling down rabbit holes on the internet, my brain kept connecting "raspberry ketone" to "brittney spears". I was thinking Curious, and Fantasy (and its variation), and Believe. Then to my utter horror, Paris Hilton made an appearance!

Needless to say, it may be quite a while before I attempt to seriously formulate a perfume using raspberry ketone.

The evaluation went like this:

Raspberry ketone ~ almost solvent-like, has a backnote that smells a bit like nail polish remover; it quickly changes to extremely berry fruit, smells like cherry Kool-Aid powder!, diluted on skin it smells berryish and musky

Secondary notes ~ nail polish remover; glue

Associations ~ Kool-Aid, nail polish remover, citric acid powder (for making bath bombs)

Very linear fruity/berry note (the polish remover dissipates and disappears after a few minutes), very strong at 3 hours (on scent strip), smells a little soapy and fresher than at the beginning

*It's been a months since I conducted this evaluation (and this is only an excerpt of that experience) and still the scent strip maintains some scent -- soft, powdery, fruity/berry scent with high citric acid notes

A few other natural isolates that stand out in my mind are heliotropin, which smells of undetermined flowers, just a big bunch of them, so sweet and lush it almost smells like candy, sweet and oily and edible; ethyl decadienoate, which is fruity and green, like the skin of a mango, fleshy and sweet and tart; and acetaldehyde, which is the aldehyde slap in the face you get when smelling those old perfumes from the 20's and 30's -- it's the aldehyde kick of Chanel No5, the boozy aldehyde push of Tabu. On dry down it smells like a lowball of bourbon and water.

Thus far I've only managed to drum up the courage to use them in candles and soap. Someday.

Maybe.


*Soap  not available.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 60 ~ One Year, One Nose


Cowboy by Opus Oils, Fetish Collection 1/3 oz. Roll-on



Yow! This perfume is a classic example of simple, excellent quality materials creating something beyond itself. Nothing fancy schmancy here: orange, hay, coffee, a little patchouli, some choya loban -- smells resinous, like a well kneaded ball of labdanum paste, early mornings at the campsite when the coffee begins to perk and the scent sneaks into your head and wakes you up, a snuggly warm manly neck keeping the chill away. It's sexy and rustic. Did I say sexy?

I'm wearing this one to work today.

Day 59 ~ One Year, One Nose

Mimosa.


So. Mimosa. Heady, sweetly, deeply floral; powdery, slightly woody, a bit green. There is something in it that reminds me of lipstick, or maybe it's an associated scent from my childhood when I'd go poking around my auntie's dressing table and I'd open the lipsticks to check out the colors, open the powder jar and puff a big cloud into the air, dig around and pull caps off of perfumes for a sniff. Mimosa smells vintage. Not old, musty, fusty, but classically, beautifully vintage. Endearing. It kind of lies its little fuzzy yellow head down on your shoulder for a snuggle. There is a slim streak of spiciness that cuts through the sweet headiness -- there and gone that streak. All in all mimosa is a darling that should never be overlooked. I see it elevating any vintage style formulation: violet perfumes, muguet perfumes, floral bouquet perfumes.

I've underestimated mimosa. It is incandescent.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 58 ~ One Year, One Nose


The Scented Djinn's Mother's Day Soap scent formulation ~



Thanks to some helpful soap elves (well, actually it was just one, Lisa, and she made such fabulous suggestions, I used them) I've formulated the soap scent for the upcoming Mother's Day Soap. It needs a little more tweaking, but I think it already smells pretty darned spectacular. It's a BIG scent.

It opens with a deep, juicy citrus punch , as if you'd fallen into the juicer and were being spun around with the oily rinds of tangerines and mandarin oranges. Then comes a floral sweetness, kind of quiet like, behind the citrus, smoothing down the jagged edges and making the scent feel -- fluffy. It is becoming difficult to describe after this point as the scent seems to grow, becoming more juicy, more fluffy-sweet, and -- bracing? The scent becomes big and energizing; fruity and sweet with hints of spicy florals. The woody part of the scent, the hinoki, is there all along but serves as more of a platform for the other more intrusive members of the formulation, present and standing by, holding up the formulation, extending the scent. It's a pretty cool effect.

If you're interested in purchasing one of these soaps (I haven't yet made them as I'm still formulating the scent) check out my currently product-free Etsy site in about three weeks. This is a limited run, so email me privately to reserve a bar or two. I'll post a reminder on this blog when they go up for sale.

The basic scent formulation, as it sits now, is made up of tangerine, red mandarin, mimosa, clary sage absolute and hinoki wood. I will be tweaking this formulation to bring more of those woody notes down, and boost the floral bits as well.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012


I just realized, as I sit pecking away on my keyboard working stories and such, that Mother's Day is just around the corner. And I have nothing prepared for it. Primarily I'm thinking soap. Mother's Day Soap. I've already got a few customers for this, so throw me a few ideas. Nothing too over the top, but still super nice, maybe lavender absolute and patchouli and a pinch of clove? Or is that too manly? Rose geranium and rose wax with patchouli and maybe a hint of santal? I don't know. I've got one shot here, friends. Help!

On a bit of a side note here, my kids keep saying things like, "Let's make this the best (fill in the holiday) ever, because, y'know, the world's gonna end in December," and I always say back to them, "The world could end at any moment, you should have made every (fill in the blank holiday) the best ever anyway!"

Vintage & Antique Oil Collecting ~ Repost from LPR Blog


Acquiring vintage and antique raw materials for perfumery is often just a one-click bid away. Many Natural Botanical Perfumers spend a great deal of time and money obtaining rare vintage and antique raw materials through sources such as Ebay, through private collections, at flea markets, auctions and estate sales, and less often at garage and yard sales. A great deal of these vintage and antique bottles sold on Ebay are acquired by the seller through auctions of lots of materials from old turn-of-the-century pharmacies.

The demand for vintage oil collecting has increased as the number of Natural Botanical Perfumers has increased, and bidding for the most rare oils can be extremely competitive. Horror stories pop up on occasion about unethical collectors and sellers making surreptitious deals, bargaining off individual bottles from auction lots without the current bidders of the items being aware. Only when the parcel arrives does the bidder realize that they have been ripped off. One such story in circulation relates this very situation. Several years ago a cooperative of buyers won a large lot of vintage and antique oils for which they paid a premium price, with one oil in the lot of particular interest -- the single bottle of oil for which the cooperative was formed and the reason bidding went so high. When their parcel arrived, the rare bottle was missing, and after a short investigation, it was discovered in the collection of another NBP. In these cases there is often little recourse. Buyer, or rather bidder, beware!

There are also stories of happy fortune as well, as one perfumer recounts her experience with purchasing a lot of antique oils for which she paid a very reasonable price. Excited about the prospect of receiving the oils, her joy was amplified when she discovered a nearly full one ounce bottle of vintage sandalwood tucked in the parcel, a freebie the seller slipped in, clearly unaware of its value. When conducting a search of vintage and antique oils, a few of the more popular perfumery and essential oil manufacturers and suppliers names to look for are: Fritzsche Brothers, Dodge & Olcott, Magnus, Maybee & Reynard, Givaudan

Less popular are:Field & Company (Aromatics) Archer-Daniels Midland Co., Ltd.,
Plaimar Limited, Schimmel, W.J. Bush &Co., Ltd., Antoine Chiris Ltd., Mallagh &Co., C.W. Field Ltd., Payan & Bertrand, Robertet, Albert & Laloue Camilli, Charabot & Co., C.A. Charpentier, Bruno Court, Pierre Dhumez, Flora Aromatics Co., Ltd., W.H. Hobbs & Co., Ltd., Lautier Fils, Ltd., Victor Mane Fils, Old Strand Chemical & Drug Co., A.W. Munns & Co., Natural & Synthetic Perfumery Essence Company, Stanley Nicholas & Co., Roure Bertrand Fils, P. Samuelson & Co., Schmoller & Bompard, Tombarel Freres, Alfred Paul White,Wilson & Mansfield, Ltd.

Why would anyone wish to collect old oils? Because without a scent history, without a tangible piece of our Natural Botanical Perfume past, we have few points of reference. As important and helpful as Steffan Arctander's book "Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin" is, it is not a replacement for physically smelling a 65-year-old Mysore sandalwood, or a perfectly preserved 40-year-old cassia. Most perfumers who collect these old oils don't use them in formulation. They save the contents in a scent library or in a focused personal museum collection as a form of preservation.

Some perfumers decant the contents into a more appropriate and safe bottle, send a few samples off to friends, and display the empty bottle as a museum piece. Though in rare instances, as with oils of resins, woods, grasses, and patchouli, using these old oils in perfume formulation is an exhilarating experience, and can also be a selling point in marketing a perfume.

Anyone can collect rare and vintage oils. There isn't a trick to it, just a matter of research, investigation and investment.Happy Hunting.


Repost from LPR blog at leparfumeurrebelle.blogspot.com

Okay, Back to That Cucumber EO Thing Again

I think this is either the third or fourth post I've done on the subject of cucumber essential oil, and since I continue to receive post hits on them, and private inquiries, I think I'll do an update post. 'K?

FACT: There is no naturally sourced 'cucumber essential oil'.

FACT: There is a cucumber seed oil, which is a different cat entirely from an essential oil, though it does have some of the same scent qualities as the cucumber fruit itself.

FACT: Treatt makes a natural cucumber flavoring extract that, as most NBP's know, can potentially be used as a scenting agent.

FACT: Treatt does not sell retail.

The problem now, it seems, is locating a wholesale Treatt customer who sells natural cucumber flavoring extract. If it's you, please post a comment here -- you'd be doing both of us a favor as this cucumber thing seems to have the potential of becoming quite the cash cow, and this could be my final word on the subject - finally.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 57 ~ One Year, One Nose

Orange Blossom Daiquiri



Oh, you ought to know me by now, if I can put it in a bottle and wear it, I will try putting it in a bottle, or a baking tin, or a cup of cream and drink it or eat it too.

Remember last year, sometime late spring, early summer, when I went on about that bartender friend who was helping me out putting together fragrant cocktails? Yeah, well, that guy flaked out on me. Turns out he wasn't much of a mixologist and really only learned the craft to get the ladies. Mm-hmm. At any rate, he did leave me with some fabulous cocktail ideas, and I've been drinking up one of those ideas for the past couple of weeks, y'know, to make sure it's good and all.

So here's what I did, and in retrospect, you'd really be wanting to try this cocktail if you're willing to go through what I did to get from point A to point B (or is it Z? -- no matter).

First, go pick or buy five fat juicy oranges and slice them thinly, then quarter the slices so you've got all these little round bottomed triangle orange wedge things, toss them all in a big pot, add 6 cups of water and the juice from two lemons, plus a bit of the lemon rind, say about 2 teaspoons or so, just as if you were making marmalade. You following so far? Good. Boil the crap out of it. For about 45 minutes until you start thinking maybe there isn't going to be any water left, then shut it off and forget it until the next day. Cover the pot in case you're worried hungry bugs might trek in for a nibble. It's best to do this just before bedtime so you're not tempted to speed up the process as you'd be making a big mistake. Besides, you'll just be too tired to take a good whack at it, so let it be. Next day in the morning sometime, dump in 3 pounds (yes, pounds) of sugar, stir it down and cover the pot until later in the evening. Sterilize about three (and I could be wrong on this) 16-ounce (that's a pound too) wide-mouth canning jars. Once they've boiled about 5 minutes, shut off the heat and toss in the lids and seals to float on top, or sink, or whatever they want to do. Let that sit until you're ready to go on to the next step. Next step, at about the 24-hour mark from the time you started all this, turn the heat on the orange pot and get it to boil, then turn down the heat, pop in a candy thermometer and wait for the orange sludge to reach 220 degrees Fahrenheit (this could take a while depending on your pot and your patience level). Stir every so often, keep an eye on it so it doesn't boil over, and get those canning jars out of the water so they can dry out a bit. Now if you're lucky and you live in the right climate, run out and pick about a cup of fresh orange blossoms off your sweet orange tree. Negative that? Okay, run to your perfume materials' stash and pick up a bottle of your best orange blossom absolute and have it at the ready for the next part. Once the orange syrup has reached 220 and stayed at that temperature for about a minute, pull the pot off the heat and let it cool for about five minutes, then add in about 5 to 7 drops of orange blossom absolute and stir in well. If you have the flowers, drop those in and add about 2 drops of the orange blossom absolute. Using sterilized tools (I suppose I should have said to toss in a metal ladle and tongs into that boiling water, eh? -- well, go on, do it now) scoop the orange syrup, orangey bits, flowers and all, and ladle it into the canning jars. This is going to be super duper hot, so take your time and don't worry if you're making a mess. Your grandma will clean it up. Fill the jars to about 1/4 inch from the top, using a clean damp paper towel, wipe the mouth of the jar and screw on the lid/seal tightly. Once the jars can be handled, give them a quick wipe down with a damp rag and put them into the boiling water pot and bring it back to a boil. Try not to let the jars smack into one another. That could be tragic. Boil for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and go eat a burrito or something before bed. Next morning, pull the jars out of the now cold water bath, wipe off the jars, stick a label on them (Orange Blossom Syrup) and date then (these will last about a year unopened).

Later on that day (never thought it'd take you three days to make a decent cocktail, did you?), perhaps after dinner, or after lunch, whatever, who am I to judge, grab a pretty little cocktail glass and pour about a half a shot of rum into it, a teaspoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of lime juice, and three teaspoons of the Orange Blossom Syrup, a squirt of water (technically a squirt is about an eighth of a cup), stir it gently with a spoon, then fill the glass with ice. Drink up. Another way to do this is in a blender if you want the real daiquiri experience. My blender broke on my last margarita, so I supplied the alternate recipe.

There you have it. Oh, how does it smell? Like orange blossoms and rum, tropical and warm.

Day 56 ~ One Year, One Nose


Coffee ~



Who is unfamiliar with the scent of coffee? Practically no one. It seems to be everywhere at any time of the day. Walk into a corner convenience store and you're assaulted by the scent of coffee, among other things. Come into the office for work, again, coffee. And then at home too, coffee. And there are those brave, brave souls who sip the stuff at night, after dinner with dessert, without fear of insomnia.

Some years ago even I would sit and drink coffee at all hours, giving no concern whatsoever for the lack of sleep I suffered -- why should I? I could always wake up unrefreshed and start in on the coffee again! Instant perkiness. There was a time when I was really picky about what coffee I would drink (and to be honest here, I still won't drink flavored coffees AT ALL) my favorite being Kona, primarily because it was the first coffee I drank that didn't come directly from a can already ground, and it was so different from what I was used to. It was cleaner, fresher, darker, and more earthy than what I had been drinking.


Coffee tincture ~ I have loads of this stuff. Probably five or six different tinctures of different types of coffees grown all over the world. And, see, the trick with using coffee scents in a perfume, especially if you're not really going for the gourmand angle, is to use the right coffee at just the right amount (deft hand, deft hand!) -- or you'll be left with something that smells like you poured a cuppa into it. Unless that's what you want.

Coffee tincture can be bitter~ish, oily, fecal, earthy, dirty, and oftentimes smell of cigarettes (unsmoked, no filters) -- there's a tobacco~y tone to it, though not strictly the tobacco, but the whole cig, from paper to leaf to unwanted chemicals. It's kind of weird. Coffee blends well with all sorts of other raw materials; patchouli, santal, cedars, resins, ylang-ylang, clary sage, and a lot more than that. Experimentation is in order. Right coffee with the right level of application in the right blend and all that. I'm still hoping to one day buy a packet of kopi luwak and use my handy-dandy solvent extraction thingamabob to get something perfume-usable.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Scent Posts







My nose is on hiatus at the moment, suffering the numbing effects of a raging viral infection that I thought, for a brief moment, was going to send me to the emergency room. But the symptoms quickly subsided and now I'm left with a bit of anosmia and a mean fever blister. Thank heavens for the neti pot or I might now be woozy with a bacterial infection on top of it all. So instead of continuing on with my perfume formulation for the upcoming project, or stopping to smell the flowers on the way to work, I've been reading. A lot. I haven't read this much since I first moved in here and was without internet and TV for a month. I must have read ten books, some of the repeats, during that time. It was really nice. Right now I'm in different parts of three books, Idiot's Guide to Zen Living, that Roy Genders book, Perfume Through the Ages or something, and another book on plants authored by a modern American who writes like Jane Austen. Sometimes it's difficult to get on with the information she's attempting to communicate due to the hoity-toity sound of the narrative. It's weird because I normally love that style of writing, but I guess that's for fiction (in my mind) and not for science.

We're experiencing another odd stop-and-start spring like last year and the year prior. The monsoons have finally arrived and we're getting much-needed water, which all the garden loves, and the lawn. The lawn is spectacular right now -- lush and green and just screaming for someone to toss a blanket down for a picnic. All the potted plants are thriving. Things are looking good. Now to plan an event for the summer and I'll be set. Last May I hosted a fragrance gathering here and met face-to-face a few of my favorite people ~ Shelley Waddington and Yuko Fukami, and reconnected with my scentophiles at arms, Lisa Camasi and Laurie Stern. I had hoped to get a little more local action and I was able to net a few friends of friends of friends, but I was hoping -- that word, hope, ah! -- more Fresnans would come and be involved. This year I think I'll get in contact with the art community and see what can be drummed up with their involvement.

This Sunday will be me and my youngest here at home, the rest of the kids have plans for Easter, so I'm thinking of taking the opportunity to try my hand at jelly again, this time an orange blossom marmalade. The sweet orange in the backyard is nearly white with blossoms, plus there are a few of last seasons oranges clinging to the top. The last go round with jelly ended up syrup, but a nice, thick, luscious jasmine grandi syrup. I think a delicious effervescent marmalade with the deep sweet floral of orange blossom is in order.

I have posts backed up -- about 25 days' worth now! I feel awful about being so far behind on the scent post project. But I will catch up eventually.

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