Monday, April 22, 2013

Day 88 ~ One Year, One Nose

Day 88 ~ Lavender CO2 Select, Bulgarian

Many raw materials in natural botanical perfumery take me by surprise, even what appears to be somewhat pedestrian, like this lavender CO2 select from White Lotus Aromatics, circa 2005 (from the bag(s) of Aromatic Wonders) that I have sitting in front of me. It's been warm here in the valley the past few days, up in the 90's (phew!) and I've noticed with the warmer temperatures, this lovely creamy CO2 has become more fluid and less 'sticky'. When I first received the bottle, it was somewhat cooler and the lavender CO2 clung to the inside of the bottle like a lovely homemade sugar syrup. It was intriguing to me, the heaviness, the substantive clinginess; it's luxuriously thick, like a wonderfully beneficial serum. The scent is unbelievably magical, as if a bundle of freshly cut violet and green lavender buds have been thrust under your nose. I'm typically not a big fan of lavender since I've kind of worn myself out on the scent, having made probably close to 100 total pounds of handmade lavender soap in the past 15 or so years -- ordinary. Plain Jane.

Not so this lavender. It is sweet and creamy and and herbal and fresh-cut floral. It reminds me of spending the day at my friend Shannon's harvesting lavender into bundles and shaking the flower buds into bowls for sachets. Overwhelmingly intoxicating with high floral notes and low, if any, camphor or pine needle notes. A simply gorgeous, extraordinary, enveloping lavender.

I take back something I wrote here earlier -- I find no raw material 'pedestrian' in the sense that they are throw-aways, not meaningful, or useless to a perfumer's palette. I feel that pretty much any raw material can be implemented gracefully into a composition, even those notes which are deemed offensive (valerian, hyraceum, goat), it just takes a cautious and well-tuned hand to present them.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Learning to Let Go

Let me begin by apologizing for leaving my loyal readers hanging, so to speak. I know you must all be on tenterhooks wondering what's happened to me, right? In a word - Lots.

Rose Garden Rose

The SF Fragrance Salon was great, and it wasn't. If you've been following the chatter on Facebook, you already know the problems associated with TasteTV and their ambivalence toward the fragrance community. The signs they supplied were evidence enough of that. On the other hand, the perfumers were fabulous. What a great and wonderful group of people I am happy to say I am a part of. And what's come from the Salon and its dismissive attitude toward US has spurred a new kind of perfume show, run by a perfumer(s) specifically geared toward perfumers. FRAGments is up and running and the first ever show is June 22, 2013 in Los Angeles.

Rose Garden Rose

The trip to SF and Berkeley was about more than just the Salon. It was an experience I will never forget, mostly because I came without accoutrements, i.e. my shield of family. Whenever I go to any event out of town, and even a few things here in town, I tow along a kid, or my mom. A protective cloak of diversion to keep me from being me -- or, rather, to keep me from discovering me. Even the person I rode into SF with to attend the salon had at one point reminded me I didn't need to stick close by her side, that I could go off and do my own thing. It was as if I'd been waiting for permission. Do you think it odd that a woman of my age is still feeling these things out? The sad fact is, I've NEVER been alone. Not really. I helped raise my younger siblings, and then when I was ready to go out on my own finally, I had a child of my own, and thus began this process of hiding myself under the responsibility of motherhood, until now, when I feel the burden of helping to raise grandchildren becoming more than I can bear. I'm ready to strike out on my own. In fact, I was once again reminded of my dependency on my 'shield' last night when I asked my daughter if she wanted to ride to the store with me to grab a few things for dinner, and her reply was, "Why can't you go anywhere by yourself?" This time I realized that I wasn't asking her along for company or to block the world out, but because I was already in my pajamas and didn't want to go into the store myself, instead I wanted to send her in. But her saying that brought all that to the fore once again, so I pulled on some jeans and a t-shirt, grabbed my car keys and left to shop on my own. I can see now how just being lazy is perceived as me being self-protective, and even that is lazy. So my goal this year is to do everything, or almost everything, alone.
Rose Garden Roses Bouquet

Remember back at the beginning of March when I mentioned the impending closing of the office where I work? Well, it turns out it might not be closing, but downsizing, and I've been retained and somewhat promoted (not really, just placed closer to the front door), but only after three employees were laid off -- one who'd worked there 26 years, another 22 years, and yet another 15 years. It was a sad, sad day Monday when they got their pink slips. I thought for sure I'd be the first on the chopping block being the last one hired and the least necessary, but it turns out economics came into play first and foremost. A part-time employee is a lot cheaper to retain than a full-time, fully benefited employee, and a part-time employee who's had previous experience in different departments is more useful than one that has to be trained.

Closed Rose Garden Rose
Needless to say since March 1 my mind has been on other more immediately pressing issues of survival than on perfume and perfumery, though perfume and all it represents lingers in the fringes of my mind every waking moment. I returned from the Bay Area with bags of goodies once again, and I will be starting up the 365 Days of Olfaction series utilizing these bits and baubles of scent. I was inspired to create more edibles, and I did for days after returning from Berkeley, until the sugar and gelatin ran out. I've a lot of sorting to do and once I have I will unveil the new line of scentedibles. In the meantime, enjoy these lovely pictures of homemade perfumed Easter ~ Ostara marshmallows.

Rose Petal & Fresh Bergamot Peel Marshmallow
Rose Petal & Fresh Bergamot Peel Marshmallow Loaf
Spearmint Leaf Tea Marshmallow
Spearmint Leaf Tea Marshmallow Loaf Cut

Saturday, April 06, 2013

SF Chocolate Salon with Fragrance in the Corner . . .

Okay, so I'll start this post by saying I love any event that features perfume, specifically naturals, but perfume in general. I loved Persephenie's exhibitions and still believe that model can be expanded upon and utilized to a perfumer's benefit in ways that -- well, I'll get back to that a bit later. The SF Fragrance Salon was more about chocolate and artisan booze and not much about fragrance. If I hadn't been so preoccupied, I would have taken a photo of the sign I'm assuming the event's coordinator managed to supply for the fragrance part. It looked a little bit like this:

Except my example has even edges and theirs looked like it had been ripped from a roll of butcher's paper, all jaggedy edged and sideways. Two perfumers, Laurie Stern and Roxana Villa, brought their business banners, which were much more tastefully made but not specific to the Fragrance Salon itself. I work for a banner company part-time, I know how much it costs to make one, and the salon folks might have been able to get a fragrance and a chocolate banner for the approximate amount of money they made from five people charged at the door, and placed that fragrance banner near where the fragrance salon was located, way in the back, up on a loft area, above the toilets.

So this post is kind of going off from where I want it to. Bottom line with these salons is that the perfumers need to be more pro-active. This is your show. Make the signs, get a banner, contact the organizers of the salons and ask if you can do a little layout planning. Though the SF Fragrance Salon was nice, and the loft space was really nice, it was conspicuously set quite a way from the last table of the chocolate salon, leaving a huge gap between the two with little direction to head up to the loft. One image that really sticks in my mind is confused attendees wandering about the loft, infused with chocolate, dazed by the shots of absinthe and artisan tequila, wondering where the hell they'd got to.


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