Thursday, November 06, 2014

Things I've Given Up As a Perfumer

Being a natural perfumer these past years has been arduous. I've faced adversity at nearly every turn, beginning with the catty attitudes of other perfumers (I'm not talking about you, friend), which, if I really gave a rat's ass, would have stopped me dead in my tracks way back when as I was fighting dragons with a toothpick. Once I realized it was a game (I'm pretty slow on the uptake sometimes), I threw down my toothpick and told the dragon to "F" itself. There were other games -- the reviews' game, the newest materials' game, the 'best of' perfumer's organ game.

A couple of years ago, I stopped asking for reviews of my perfumes. One blogger in particular, for whom I'd had a great (or so I thought) relationship with, and who wrote glowing reviews of my work, did an about face one day. I found out later that this blogger, due to the shenanigans of another perfumer, thought I wasn't who I said I was. Because, believe it or not, there are people in this business who play these games in the public forum, shamelessly shaming and degrading others, taking on aliases to do so -- I know, I sound like a paranoid, but I'm not, promise, I don't even care these days except it shows the depth and breadth of what an insecure person (not me just yet) will do to get what they want (world domination?), I just thought you'd like to know that certain aspects of this business can get nasty and ugly really fast and all it takes is -- well, almost nothing. Besides, I wasn't good at this gamesmanship back in school (where it belongs -- or not) and I'm certainly not going to hone my skills of degradation at this late hour. So I gave up getting reviews and now just get nice, or not so nice, surprises when a review pops up.

Next was (and I say 'was' because I've given up this as well) the 'I've-got-the-latest-and-greatest-I'm-gonna-make-a-zillion-dollars-off-of-it-new-raw-material-no-one's-ever-seen-before' game. Heh-heh-heh. Remember boronia? Blue lotus phytol? Hyacinth absolute? All of these were on that list at one time or another, all are prohibitively expensive to a small perfume business, and all are now nearly impossible to find. At least the real stuff, anyway. In their defense, all were/are pretty spectacular as well. I have an apple blossom concrete that I adore, paid a pretty penny for it, too. It's authentic, rare -- as in so rare it's probably never going to be seen again -- and I now keep what's left of my little stash in the 'library' of scent. As lovely as it is, it just didn't have any tenacity and rarely added any value to a composition. Fleeting notes, however valuable and rare, just aren't worth using in compositions. As library pieces, they're priceless.

The final thing I've given up -- or, the final one I'll discuss here -- are those neat, tidy, exquisite, envy-worthy perfumer's organs perfumers like to showcase. Theirs, someone else's, from movies -- the ever evasive apothecary-like perfumer's organ. Here are photos of my organ today ~

Impressive, eh? I'd take a photo of the storage closet where all the raw materials are, but that would really embarrass me. I've previously posted pics of my organ, but I'm going to be honest with you here and tell you that I worked for hours -- sometimes days -- to get it in that condition. All the doo-daws and goo-gaws that I once thought were important to being a 'real' perfumer are sitting in the garage collecting dust. All you really need are some formulating bottles, glass droppers, a scale, a few graduated cylinders (10's and 100's) decant bottles, maybe scent strips, and a nice collection of raw materials. Oh, and a notebook. You can carry on like this for years. If you're in production, you may need to upgrade, but for small, less-than-50 bottles per batch composing, this can be as complicated as it needs to get.


  1. Anonymous4:18 AM

    I am so glad I found another way to use my creativity, this bitches/witches where (and probably still is, plain energy suckers.
    If you want you can have my jar of apple blossom concrete - just send me an email or comment on my blog.

    1. By the way, I love your blog. You know (and you do because I've told you before) that I used to make quilts when I was a mountain woman (hahaha!) and I do so envy your work. You've become quite adept at the art of stitchery and creating beautiful things. I still every so often see a swatch of material and wonder if it's something you'd like. xoxoxoxo So glad to see you here again :)



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