So, I'm currently working on a project that will, if all goes well, bring more students for enrollment into the Natural Perfume Academy where I teach/tutor prospective natural perfumers. This is a big deal, this project, and not just for the Academy, but for those prospective students as well. It's a game changer. It will require a bit of tweaking of the curriculum, namely removing any instruction in natural isolates, and playing up the importance of gardening and/or sourcing some of your own raw materials. The goal is to get back to basics, to stick with proveable naturals and teach the students how to create natural perfume the right way, without all the hokum. Now, I can't undo the book -- Working the Bench II -- wherein an entire chapter is dedicated to the study of natural isolates, and another chapter demonstrates how to use natural isolates in a formulation, but I can commit myself to never using them again. As I mentioned in a previous post here, I don't use natural isolates anymore, not since I wrote the book and used them in research for the book. I've never been entirely comfortable with them, despite the few successful creations. Earlier in the year, or perhaps it was late last year, I removed all posts on this blog pertaining to the use of natural isolates in a knee-jerk reaction. Now I wish I hadn't erased those posts because no one can change the past, not really, and there are such things as screen grabs. But people change. One hopes for the better and not the worse, and I think dropping the use of natural isolates in my perfumes is for the better. I think one of the points I make in the book is that there is no way for a natural perfumer to be sure that their natural isolate, let's say eugenol, came from a plant source and wasn't created synthetically. That's really been a sticking point for me, not being certain of the source, and despite that truth, I tried really, really hard to love natural isolates so I could use them to improve my perfume formulations. But it just didn't turn out that way.
So now I'm focusing on strictly natural naturals, and that includes proveable naturals, like the stuff I can extract myself. Which is where the farm comes into play. Right now the farm is in its infancy so the only plant materials we have in abundance to distill are white sage and lavender, and a little less lavender than what we need, actually. There is some rose geranium but not enough to make gallons of hydrosol or ounces of oil, but enough to get us started. At the moment, the focus is on witching herbs for the apothecary, and food. But all of this plays into the 'back to naturals' movement we're building upon. Because we were so unprepared this year with minimal wo/man power and not enough hours in the day, a lot of good raw materials were lost to the season. Like jasmine, and rock rose (though that may be remedied later in the summer). We had a small hyacinth bed that bloomed beautifully, but I think we lost the extraction to moisture. All of these things are opportunities for learning more about the earth-to-bottle movement.
If you're interested in learning about natural perfumery, contact Ruth at The Natural Perfume Academy. The fall session begins in September, and that's when the big news comes into play for our natural perfumery students.