Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Solid Parfum

For the past few months I've been struggling with the issue of postal regulations. I thought by dumping my alcohol based perfumes onto the market at greatly reduced prices to the continental US that it would remedy some of the issues, but it turns out Americans don't want my perfumes, Europeans do, so I'm back to square one with the postal issues. And the way this business is played, and I say played because it is very much like a game with the utterly horrendous politics -- yes, the way the business is played, it seems that we, the perfumers, are always trying to find a way to keep ahead of the dreaded regulations. Solid perfumes are finally being discussed in open forums -- niche perfumers, natural perfumers, artisan perfumers -- they seem to be talking about it now. Yet another change-up in the game. Like when the IFRA spews out a new directive, a perfumer's eyeballs bleed staring down the newly restricted or prohibited item, wonder what the hell? I know, so far this is all over the place, which is where my head is at right now -- all over the freakin' place. Postal regulations restrict shipping, the IFRA regulations restrict creativity, perfume politics are paralyzing and brutal -- a perfumer's gotta ask themselves, is all this worth it? Well, is it?

So I made a solid perfume. I worked on it for weeks. I poured my heart and soul into it and when it was all over, I had kind of a less than stellar reaction to it. As the base sat in its graduated cylinder stinkin' up the studio, it was sublime. Earthy and floral and rich and lush and I couldn't wait to set it down in the oil and beeswax. After I had, it kind of lost something for me. I couldn't ferret it out, whatever that 'it' was that was so alluring before. I've been wearing this solid every day since I made it, and I've figured it out. You'd think I'd remember this about solids, but I haven't made any for a long, long while (see years) -- as with all perfume, it needs aging. It ages suspended in composition, and again in the base solid (oil/wax) -- all these fragrant elements twist and turn and meld upon themselves before they settle down to something smooth and gorgeous. Now I'm writing down the bones of more perfume solids, reformulating old alcohol-based perfumes to solid. I can't see any way around it. I will still formulate in alcohol as it is, in my opinion, the most open and alive and shimmering form of perfume, but a large part of my future business will be done in oil and waxes.

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