Monday, February 28, 2011

Lush Locks!

Lush Locks
By Tonie Silver

This is not one of my usual all natural product reviews.  You all know how dedicated I am.  Ferreting.  Poking.  Prodding.  Prying.  And I have yet to find shampoo and conditioner without chemicals that work. I’ve tried, readers, I’ve really tried.  I’ve done the rhassoul thing~ um, thanx,  no.  Natty dreads are not for Tonie.  Done the vinegar and baking soda madness and was soundly admonished by my hairdresser with a stern warning as to my future scarecrow status.  If there is an all natural hair care product out there that works, please let me know and I’ll stand corrected.  So it is with a clear conscience that I present a review of Lush haircare products.  Lush does include a lot of nice natural stuff in amongst the chems.  What’s a girl to do?  It’s the wig, man~ the wig!

To wit, I tried Lush’s solid shampoo bars.  They’re really fun to use, with the little caveat that I found it to be a hassle putting them in a little bowl to dry out and store.  No matter, they’re worth it.  The Gentle Lentil smells so good, like a musky vanilla, and leaves hair really soft.  One thing I like a whole lot about these bars is the fact that they lather up really well and get hair super clean.  The Godiva is the one to go to if you want to smell like a flower bomb.  An explosion of flowers.  A flower volcano.  Flowery flowerson from flowerville.  And so’s your mum.  Rife with jasmine and gardenia.  Really brings out the highlights in hair.  Leaves hair nice and shiny clean.  I’ve found that so many shampoos, what with all the ingredient hoo-ha~ just don’t lather any more.  Well, happily, these do.  Mountains and mountains of bubbly Willy Wonka-like lather.  Yay!  Recommended~ I’m gonna order some more when I run out!:)

After your locks are all clean and shiny, condition them with a dollop of Lush’s American Cream.  Reminiscent of vanilla pudding, this conditions without weighing hair down or sacrificing shine.
If you’re looking for a really low chem deo, check out Lush’s Aromaco.  Made mostly of bicarb, it smells so good of patchouli, and offers light funk control.

I’ve perused Lush’s catalog for the first time in years; they do offer a small cadre of all natch products, so who knows?  Perhaps another is review is in order???

Get yer Lush on at WWW.LUSHUSA.COM   

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Museum Pieces

by Justine Crane

My first experiences with antique and vintage oils came by way of packages shipped from Berkeley, California, from the studio of avid Natural Botanical Perfume aficionado Lisa Camasi. Over those first few years of working in perfumery, I received little 5/8th dram bottles of vintage rose geranium, old cedars, smooth spices and antique sandalwoods, among other vintage oils, gems to hoard and dilute in minute amounts and formulate with sparingly. Then came the real booty. We both managed to get our hands on some rare antique resins and swapped samples. From those transactions I acquired a gorgeous oakmoss soluble resin that knocks me out when I open the bottle for a waft. It's richness and mossy darkness are many more times intense than its modern counterpart. It's what those vintage chypres were made with ~ velvety and smoky, sweet and deep and hinting at loamy black soil and warm fungi. Along with the oakmoss there was tolu balsam the color of dried blood and reeking of black pepper and mint, cinnamon and vanilla and lush jungle flowers. Even after diluting to 10%, the dry brown-red blood color and dense peppery-minty-floral-cinnamon scent persists. Tenacious. The antique olibanum ~ indescribably lovely. There are no lemony top notes to this vintage, just a slight edgy resinous pitch with surprising warmth and softness. Then came the galbanum. Lovely, green, heart of Vent Vert galbanum. Sweetly green with none of the prickly sharp pine resin tones. Then the benzoin, the sweet, vanillic, honeyed, lickable benzoin. No modern benzoin I've ever smelled comes close to the sugary, nearly edible quality of this antique benzoin. The antique styrax is crisp and clean and floral. Yes! Floral! The vintage labdanum smells much like modern labdanum, but perhaps a little denser, a bit richer, more substantive, with smooth edges and little of the prodding bitterness some labdanums possess. The heart of amber.

The real jewel of the haul has to be, and is, undeniably, the antique orris resin. None of the contemporary samples of orris I have used are comparable to this orris resin. Sweet and soft and powdery with fruity notes and flashes of sweet violet and raspberry marshmallows and boronia . . . wonderment. Museum worthy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Skunked ~ Mandrake Apothecary's Sara Phillips

by Sara Phillips

"You'll never believe what I found. I can't believe someone was selling it..."

"What?" asked Lisa.

"Antique skunk oil. Can you believe this was used in perfumery at some point?"

And so I went arse over stripey tail into a very peculiar aromatic. It was a slightly anxious week waiting for the parcel in the mail. Would my cats freak out? Would my apartment smell like the acrid fatty smell of human sweat mixed with burnt coffee and the acid of rotting lemons?

Fresh skunk juice is one of those olfactory sensations that coshes one in the nose, hard. It is pervasive, pungent, piquant. Sharp. Be that as it may, it's not a smell that makes me run for cover, because it has those familiar tones of the burnt coffee and sweat, and because I have a bit of soft spot for skunks.

Antique skunk oil is in an odd class all its own. The Opening Ceremony was approached with trepidation, and a sense of expecting the worst. We did this in Lisa's kitchen, if memory serves; it was part of a lineup of other procured bottles of antique liquids, and was probably the last one opened that evening. I remember carefully carving out bits of fossilized cork with a trussing needle. Taking care to wiggle the cork free, but well away from our faces. I think we were worried it would be a stink bomb, frankly. But amazingly it wasn't. It smelled like acrid sweat, flat coffee, mud, and some other mysterious bitter things mixed into all that, sure. But it was smooth, very mellowed, and not obnoxious. It is not a smell I would rank among even a Top 100 Must Haves (frankly, the animalic essences do not do it for me), but it is history, and therefore interesting and worthy of further study.

Part of what makes this type of a smell interesting lies in its impact upon the limbic system, and I must admit this is something I gave short shrift until I got the bright idea to wave the cork in front of my cats and gauge their responses. Lucy the younger one was fascinated. Her nose twitched, and then wrinkled as she opened her mouth to get a better whiff and taste of the air around the cork. "Oooooh, this came from a furry beast! But which one?" She would have tried to cram her head into the neck of the bottle, had I held that before her. However, Daisy the elder was not interested or pleased. Her pupils got as big as kibble dishes and she bolted under the bed, not coming out for a few hours. It is probably safe to say she was skunked or had a poor encounter with one when she lived outdoors.

So, have you made 'skunk perfume'? you may well be wondering. Not as yet. I do have a tincture of this amongst the rest of my extractions and tinctures, and I did work on a blend that used its bitterness in the base, awhile back, which was actually quite good but got shelved for various reasons so I could work on other formulations. The oil itself was decanted into another bottle, and the original bottle is a museum piece in my collection. For being an animalic essence it is strangely devoid of uric and/or fecal tones, just as fresh skunk juice is devoid of those. Instead there is a dark rubbery presence in it that I've smelled only in certain roasted coffees, and in really young nutmeg distillations (as in the distillation has not aged at all, not that the nutmegs were immature when steam distilled). Rubber tires that have been baking in the sun, which have picked up a bit of prehistoric petroleum character from the tar in the asphalt. I've smelled castoreum that was 'rubbery' as well, in addition to the salty sweaty fecal tones.Antique skunk essence also proves the point that plant essences can smell more animalic than even animalic essences. Costus and cumin (highly diluted cumin) smell much more like they came from something with hair and sweat glands, than aged skunk does. I could see using this in a leather accord, but am unsure how I would go about making that happen. Perhaps with a bit of patchouli for dusty musty earth to dilute the rubber, vetiver to cut the acrid fat and add more sweat, and then some ylang III to sweeten the lot. At least, that is the plan next time I go near this essence at my workbench.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pre-Spring Perfumed Tea Party Recipes

Here are just a few recipes to kick off a pre-spring perfumed food celebration.

Petitgrain Sur Fleur Neroli Shortbread

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
1 cup unsalted butter, softenend
4 drops White Lotus Aromatics' bergamot organic, Italy essential oil
10 drops White Lotus Aromatics' petitgrain sur fleur neroli, Morocco essential oil
3/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour or 2 cups sifted unbleached flour

Cream the butter with the brown sugar and drop in the essential oils and blend until fluffy. Slowly add in flour by spoonfuls and blend well. Wrap dough in parchment or waxed paper and put it into the refrigerator for at least an hour or until thoroughly chilled. Roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick and cut into triangles and place onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Serve with hot tea or coffee for dunking. Baked shortbread can be kept frozen for up to 6 months.

Orange Summer Cake with Orange Blossom Icing (for six)

This is a small cake that will feed six, and even eight if the pieces are cut small enough. The orange blossom absolute in the icing carries through the entire flavor experience of the cake. Bon appetit!

7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup cake flour or all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
5 drops White Lotus Aromatic's bitter orange Ivory Coast essential oil, or 5 drops White Lotus Aromatic's organic red mandarin, Italian essential oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla tincture in organic alcohol
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cups milk or heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of your cake pan so that it fits exactly. Butter the sides of the cake pan as well as the parchment paper and dust with flour. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl with an electric mixer, or in your Kitchen Aid, cream the butter until smooth, then slowly add in the sugar, then the eggs, the orange eo and the vanilla. Mix for 3 or 4 minutes. With the mixer on, alternate blending in the flour and then the milk, until all ingredients are combined, and mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and cook for about 20-25 minutes until done. Cool.While the cake is baking, clean up your mixer or Kitchen Aid and begin the icing.


1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tblsp cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 stick unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1 drop White Lotus Aromatic's Orange Blossom Absolute, Tunisian
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla tincture in organic alcohol

Mix the sugar and heavy cream until the sugar dissolves, but not so quickly the cream whips up. While still mixing, add in small pieces of the cream cheese until incorporated, then do the same with the butter. Add the Orange Blossom Absolute and vanilla and whip until well mixed. The icing should be well blended and thinner than a regular frosting. Place the icing into the refrigerator until the cake cools. Once the cake is cooled, pour or glop the icing onto the center of the cake and spread the icing outward. Serve with iced lavender Earl Grey tea or, if you're feeling a little adventurous, with shots of Hangar One Mandarin vodka. Essential oils and absolutes are very concentrate so do not be tempted to add more than what this recipe indicates. In this case, more is not better.

Special thanks to L. C. for the Hangar One connection

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Interview With Andy Tauer

by Tonie Silver

Le Parfumeur Rebelle is privileged to present an interview with Andy Tauer. Andy is a perfumer in Zurich, Switzerland. Le Parfumeur Rebelle's Editor In Chief became smitten with Andy after extensive perusal of his site.

Welcome to LPR Andy.

Well, thank you! It is a pleasure you invited me to this chat and I hope you and your readers will enjoy our conversation. 

Can you tell our readers what fragrance means to you?

Fragrances mean different things to me. For sure fragrances are a means of expressing myself in a creative way. I like the process of constructing a fragrance, going through rounds of trials, trying to find the best scented picture fitting with my vision/idea in my head. My fragrances and my fragrance making are also a way of talking to people. I feel that- besides reading about me on my blog- people get a glimpse on my way of thinking and feeling by looking at my perfumes, respectively sniffing them. Nowadays, with increasing sales figures that still make me wonder why this is, my fragrances have also become a commercial issue and I tend to think a lot about what next steps to make in terms of marketing or packaging, pricing etc. This world of business has nothing to do with scent itself, but it became a part of my fragrance-related world. I am still learning the lessons that it is simply not good enough to just make a good fragrance, you have to tell the world and make sure that people understand your message, for instance by selecting the right visual communication, too.And then: I am a fragrance user, too. Here, fragrances mean to me: Simply enjoying to cover myself with a sheet of scent. In these scented clothes I am then ready to go through my day, enjoying it.

Here at LPR we don't employ the use of synthetics. I'm interested in your choice to include them; is this because there are things you just can't get with botanicals?

Thank you for this question; I appreciate it a lot. Well, I started perfumery using all natural components only. Recently I posted on my blog about the way a perfumer apprentice should get to know his/her palette of scents. I think naturals are the best (and only way) to learn about creating perfumes. Nature provides us with some wonderful scents that a perfumer absolutely needs to know thoroughly (like roses essential oils, or absolutes). I find the compounds isolated by man from natural sources to be more inspiring for a future perfumer, too. And I find a beauty in naturals that I do not find as such in single synthetic compounds. Hence, I want to make use of this beauty and maybe- if I am good enough- lift it to something different, master them to create something new. Why did I not stop there, using my naturals and creating so called natural fragrances? Simply because I realized that I can do much more by employing synthetics in a clever way. I use man made compounds somewhat carefully, in a complementing way. I use them to set accents, to highlight things, to extend lines and to fix notes. On the other hand, mastering synthetics is not easy. Some notes need extremely careful handling! Maybe one word on the distinction between naturals and synthetics. I feel that most of the discussions on naturals vs. synthetics are unnecessary, in the sense that we are discussing content before form. Sometimes it reminds me of people discussing which church to visit, instead of asking how to make the world a better place.

Andy, can you give LPR readers a glimpse into your creative process?

My creative process is a mess, somehow. And a pain, mostly. Initially, I start with an idea, sometimes very simple, like I want to make an orange flower soliflor or I want a woody cologne for myself. I start with such an idea, or a picture in mind, like the campfire, the cowboy, the leather, the grassland for the Lonestar Memories, and then I draw the first lines. I usually do this in Excel first. Sitting in front of my computer and just entering a few compounds, like Tonka, Sandalwood, Myrrh in the base, a few notes for the heart and a few notes for the head. With this simple list I then go to the lab which basically is a table and a chair with lots of bottles in a shelf next to it. Here I mix and while doing so I constantly compare the result with my idea in my head. I usually start adding other things on the go and the formula gets more complicated. Usually, I start with naturals as the corestructure and then add synthetics in a later phase to change tonalities etc. Thus, the formula gets more complicated, and sometimes I try very different routes to reach the same goal. The most promising is then followed, whereby I gradually, incrimentally move towards an imaginary target. This target- of course- I never reach, but sometimes I feel like I'm getting closer at least. Sometimes I reach a point where I feel happy with it, happy enough to show the result around. Mostly, I don't and simply throw it away. Things get messy and painful, when I do not get closer to my goal; it brings me into a state of fever somehow, where I tend to think about my challenge in a phobic way, starting in the morning and ending in the evening. If things do not work out, I may also just give up for a while, and come back later again with new ideas or concepts.How do you incorporate fragrance into your daily life?I do not wear perfumes every day, some days I don't simply in order to keep my nose fresh for my perfumery work. Mentally, fragrances or better: scents are with me daily. I bring up scents from my memory, assemble them in my brain's biological virtual space, arrange them and play with them. Often, I go to bed with a fragrance, too. Falling asleep with the cozy embracement of scents is wonderful!

Five favorite smells?

Rose absolute from Morocco

Orange flower (natural scent or the absolute)

Birch tar

Fresh brewed coffee in the air in the morning

Sandalwood on the skin in the evening and so many more....

Least favorite odor?

I really dislike the scent of: an old, wet, used for too long, never really dried washcloth or a even worse: towel. There, I am somewhat pathologically fixed.  (I'm with you on that one Andy~ TM)

Let's play a bit of olfactory word association Andy; I'll throw a word at you, & you reply with whatever smells they evoke.

Love: Milk, sweat

Fury: The warm chest of a red haired fellow youngster at school, one evening, some 27 years ago.

The Ocean: Algae

Switzerland: Hmm... home, a mix of 200 scents.

Happiness: Frankincense

Any advice for the Rebel Perfumers out there?

Yes, please follow your fragrance dreams. I try to, and I know, it is not easy, but it is worth the pain.

Sage advice Andy. Thank you for the generosity of your time Andy, from all of us at LPR.
Auf Wiedersehen:)

My pleasure.

For more information about Andy Tauer, Perfumer, please follow this link:

Reprint from LPR 2006

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vintage & Antique Oil Collecting

Vintage & Antique Oil Collecting 

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.

by: Editors

Reprint from LPR website 2010

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Alchemy Works

A Review by Tonie Silver

In reviewing Alchemy Works Sanctuary Rose oil, I was in for a surprise.

I thought "Gee, Rose and Myrrh, pretty straightforward, right?" Wrong.

Harry at Alchemy Works has managed something completely different. This is a magical oil, as are all of Alchemy Works'. The fragrance is that of dust. In a good way. It reminds one of a place of worship that is vacant, with sunlight filtering in through ancient mullioned windows. This is the fragrance of the dust dancing in the sunlight. Dust settled on ancient books. Dust of centuries. Dust one has to blow off of candles before lighting them. A bit dry, a bit sweet. Very soft and understated, yet there with a tenacious strength. Whispers secrets to the wearer. Hints of spices come through, like threads woven throughout a tapestry.

Being a magical oil, one that is intended for ritual use, I can see where Harry has succeeded in the perfume oil melding with the skin, with the wearer, as opposed to sitting atop it~ more for use than distracting. Very interesting. In reading his verbiage on this oil, I learned that it is protective, and honors the feminine. Deep stuff, man. What impresses me about Alchemy Works is the obvious passion and dedication of Harry. Check out his site~ it's a treasure trove of information.
Packaging is tops~ Miron violet glass, methinks, with awesome Gothic graphics on the label. Check it out, then choose one that speaks to you.

Reprint article from LPR website

Monday, February 21, 2011

Reprint: Horse Chestnuts

Horse Chestnuts
by Lisa Abdul-Quddus

It happens often yet I still get amazed at how simple actions can spark inspiration and discoveries. Take, for example, a conversation back in January 2009 between Natural Botanical Perfumer Justine Crane and one of her Antiquarian Perfumery students, Pauhla Whitaker. Pauhla started a discussion about a subject totally different from where that discussion ended. Basically, she casually mentioned the smell of horse chestnuts and very briefly described what they were. Justine suggested she tincture them, and voila! The Natures Nexus Academy of Perfuming Arts students had begun a journey in horse smells. Pauhla generously supplied the students with horse chestnuts and there began the experimentation.

If you do a search for horse chestnuts you will most likely find links to Aesculus hippocastanum, a tree that bears fruit containing seeds or nuts, referred to as chestnuts or horse chestnuts. So to give a brief description of what horse chestnuts are for those unfamiliar, they are the soft knobbly bits or growths found on a horse above the knee area of the front legs and below the hock of the hind legs. They grow normally over time in layers and can be easily peeled or shaved off. If horse chestnuts grow too big they can be unsightly but cause no harm to the horse. Pauhla says think of them as toe nails. When your toe nails grow too long you clip them. If left alone horse chestnuts can peel and fall off on their own. Often though they are taken care of by a farrier during regular grooming. And being that they grow from the horse's body they carry within them a mildly horsey more leathery scent. As a bonus for those that use animal essences in their natural perfumes horse chestnuts are cruelty free.

When I evaluated the horse chestnut tincture I found it to be cool and actually somewhat fresh. It is rustic for sure, but not fecal. Definitely animalic, sweaty, but not like stepping into a barn where horse scents can be concentrated. A chestnut is but one element taken from a group of other horse related smells, most notably lacking the warmth or heat that I would guess comes more from the horses own body heat than anything else. In conducting my own experiments with this tincture I found it gives my blends a 'lift' and cuts some of the sweetness of various essences while adding an agrestic note. I found this happened when added to a blend that was dominant in jasmine sambac.

I randomly selected a few essences to test with horse chestnut tincture added and these are some of my findings.

Patchouli - 10% dilution - ratio 1:1 Patchouli alone has a warm earthy, woody scent. With the addition of horse chestnut tincture it became almost boozy like congac with a light leather. Over time, and as the alcohol evaporated the leather note became stronger.

Tobacco absolute - 1% dilution - ratio 1:1 Tobacco absolute is warm, sweet and smoky. Adding horse chestnut tincture gave this a lift with a faint animalic note that blends well with the richness of the tobacco absolute. Think a campfire, burning tobacco, leather saddles and of course the horses.

Cilantro - 1% dilution - ratio 1:1 Cilantro is fresh, bright and herbal, like drawing in the aroma of a fresh cut bunch from a garden. The horse chestnut tincture overpowered the cilantro at the 1% dilution, although the cilantro was still detectable. These two together made for a very fresh, cool combination that actually pulled a tiny bit of sweetness from the cilantro. 

I've found that when added to heavier base notes the horse chestnut tincture takes a back seat but still makes its presence known. With lighter notes it can take over but will diminish over time letting the lighter notes shine through while still adding an animalic element to a blend. One must also factor in the dilution percentages of the essences being used as well as the strength of the tincture. For those interested in animal smells horse chestnuts are worth adding to your palette if you can obtain them. Experiment with various essences to see what this tincture can add to your blends.

Lisa Abdul-Quddus, Owner of Blossoming Tree Bodycare on Etsy, Third-Year Student/Mentor NNAPA Antiquarian Perfumery Course

Justine Crane, Natural Botanical Perfumer, Owner of The Scented Djinn, Tutor for Natures Nexus Academy of Perfuming Arts

Pauhla Whitaker Consultant, AmimOils, essential oil therapy for animals, Third-Year Student/Mentor NNAPA Antiquarian Perfumery Course

Sunday, February 20, 2011

NBP Education ~ Natures Nexus Academy of Perfuming Arts

The Natural Perfume Academy was first established in 2008 to provide education to aspiring natural and botanical perfumers, natural perfume enthusiasts, and entrepreneurs interested in creating and marketing natural and botanical perfumes.

Distance Learning with Natural Perfumery Academy Course provides the total professional development needed by those entering into or progressing in the natural perfumery industry. Ms Justine Crane is the academy teacher with Ms. Shelly Waddington as auxiliary tutor. The Academy uses Moodle, a powerful learning platform used by major colleges around the world. It is administered at all times by fully trained technical staff. 

The Natural Perfume Academy has made use of the original perfumery course material devised by such authorities on the subject as Septimus Piesse, creator of the Odophone, a scale denoting parts of a perfume (head, heart, base), published in 1857 by Edward Sagarin in his book The Art of Perfumery and the Methods of Obtaining the Odours of Plants, and from the works of Jean Carles, Perfumer, published as reprinted articles ((1961, 1962 & 1963) from the French magazine "Recherches" into William Kaufman's coffee table tome "Perfume", published 1974.

We have found that the need for adaptable facilities for natural perfumery training is growing due to the fact that in the increasingly restrictive environment, independent natural perfumers need tailor-made training geared towards regulatory compliance and safety. It is also the case that apprenticeships in perfumery involving the sole use of natural materials are difficult if not impossible to secure. Traveling long distances to attend courses is highly impractical, and these days, unnecessary. Furthermore in light of the worldwide expansion of the natural botanical perfume industry, there are increasing demands that natural perfumers be capable and highly trained.

Natural Perfume Academy Course structure in detail

Unit 1 History of Natural Botanical Perfumery
The history of Natural Botanical Perfumery spans millennia, with records going back some 4000 years or more. This is a brief, though somewhat dubious, history of perfume, which includes "modern perfumery" and its inclusion of synthetically produced raw materials.

Unit 2 Safety, regulatory and environmental issues

This unit will provide students with the necessary theory to understand and apply selected key safety assessments (e.g. compliance with IFRA guidelines), familiarise students with selected key regulatory frameworks (e.g. EU cosmetics directive).

Unit 3 Chemistry of Natural Fragrance

A brief overview of chemicals within natural raw materials which produce the scents with which we, as Natural Botanical Perfumers, are so familiar.

Unit 4 Perfumers Studio & Resources

This portion of the course focuses on the tools necessary for a perfumery student to formulate basic compositions and compounds. The tools are fairly standard and can be purchased online or at a department or drug store.

Unit 5 The Natural Perfumers Palette

The raw materials available to today’s natural & botanical perfumer are far more numerous than they were for our predecessors. Where their palettes were restricted to a few dozen or so essences, ours has been greatly expanded to include hundreds of materials.

Rose OilUnit 6 Evaluating Natural Perfumery Materials
All raw materials must be evaluated by the perfumer prior to their use in a perfume. The perfumer needs to become familiar with the note category or categories, character and safe usage levels of each material.

Unit 7 Journaling & Creating a Perfume
You will reach a point in your perfume making studies when you will require knowledge of advanced tools and techniques to create larger volumes of perfume. It is important that you study diligently all the information and materials provided by the course in the earlier lessons in order to successfully move onto the advanced stage of instruction.

Unit 8 Base Building, Conceptualizing Perfume
Perfume begins on paper. Before you open a bottle or waft a scent strip, the first order of building a perfume begins with the inspiration, and the ideas are written down in detail.

Unit 9 Natural Isolates
Upon completion of this unit, the student will have a basic understanding of natural isolates and will be ready to begin blending using these fragrance materials.

Unit 10 Marketing & Financial Management
A module introducing the basic principals of marketing in the natural botanical perfume industry and financial background for natural perfumery management. The focus is on financial management and costings.

Unit 11 Essay & Creative Proposal

With guidance from the tutor the student will propose the creative assignment and essay for the end of year perfume submission.

Unit 12 Essay & Perfume Submission
Student finalises and submits the end of the year essay along with the creative assignment perfume submission for tutor evaluation. Student recieves evaluations and end of year certificates.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

NBP Education ~ Natural Perfumery & Exotics by Jeanne Rose

Natural Perfumery & Exotics by Jeanne Rose

MARCH 11-13, 2011
San Francisco, CA.

Make perfumery skills with a systematic and logical progression from the basics of measurement to the sophistication of complex perfumery. Learn myriad techniques, skills and uses of equipment for making solid and liquid perfumes. Learn the three ways of verbalizing a blend or single scent. Learn the nuances and olfactory texture of 150 exotic essential oils, absolutes, waxes, concretes, alcohols and carrier oils. This class is for perfumery or for making your own products. It will help give inspiration and give direction for those deciding where to go with their aromatherapy studies. The workshop combines the academic and scientific with the magically subjective and overall shows that there is art, craft and science to blending Essential oils for perfumes. Work hands-on to go beyond formulas in books and expand personal expertise and repertoire. $475 PIF [Enrollment limited to 8-10]

MARCH 26-27, 2011
San Francisco, CA.

Continue your Perfumery class with part II. We will make bases and accords, and talk more about tinctures, absolutes, concretes and other perfume ingredients. This is a continuation class and is devoted individually to persons truly interested in the complexity of natural perfumery and ingredients. Includes your supplies. Enrollment limited to 8 – and you must have taken the Part I Natural Perfumery course within the last 3 years.

APRIL 09-10, 2011

San Francisco, CA.

Fixing your scent and more bases and accords. Expand your perfume repertoire and make perfect perfume. Jeanne Rose is a distiller of many years experience and can teach you the whys of alcohol, what they are and how to use carriers. $450 PIF ••  You must have taken the Part I & Part II Natural Perfumery course within the last 3 years.

Friday, February 18, 2011

NBP Education ~ Natural Perfume Course by Lyn Ayre

Natural Perfume Course by Lyn Ayre

Natural Perfume Course 

My first order of business is always: DO NO HARM, which is why I include the following statement and I make it up front

When making natural perfumes, we are dealing with the wondrous, powerful, highly scented, and generally medicinal plant chemical components. Please refrain from taking this course if you: have major internal organ damage, have severe breathing or skin allergies or sensitivities, or your health is otherwise severely compromised

Those who are pregnant or lactating, can complete and email the following 'paper projects' for the correspondence course: 1- on Anosmia, 4- on another descriptor for rose oil, 6- on descriptive words or phrases, project 16- on tincture and infusions, project 19- Passion for Perfume, project 25- philosophies; half of the Perfume Projects on accords. The reading, gathering of supplies, and preparation of a safe Atelier can also be accomplished while you are waiting to begin the course.

"Attention Professional Registered Aromatherapists: Study from home to earn your CEC's or CEU's. Achieving a Certificate of Completion for this six-month correspondence course in Natural Perfumery may satisfy the requirements for the 24 CEC's that you need to maintain your professional membership. Check with your association for more details. If this course is not listed by your professional body, perhaps you would like to suggest it to them." 

If you feel you have all of the below knowledge in place, please check out my Five-Day Perfume Intensive at 

Natural Perfumery Course Cover.jpg (186089 bytes)
Natural Perfumery Course 
~a path to the Heart of Spirit~

Introduction to the art of Natural Perfumery. 

We will be covering twenty-one oils/absolutes; various bases; 

scent profiling; the language of natural perfumery; formulation; 

accords; scent-similars; tinctures; macerations; and many other aspects. 

Specific assignments are given for each of the six sections. 

In order to attain a Certificate of Completion for this course, you will 

need to do these twenty-six assignments and reports, send in sixteen perfume samples, and take the final proctored written exam, and practical exam. The exam can be taken six months after you begin your studies. This is an in-depth course and there is no need to rush. Most people take two years to complete it.

Perfumery Course Goals & Objectives

This course would suit learners who are true novices and know nothing about this topic, but have a passion to learn, as well as those who have been making some perfumes for family and friends but would like to take it to the next level of endeavor. There is a section on marketing and preparing for an interview and review of your perfumes.

At the end of this perfumery course, you will know how to make perfume in various bases. You’ll be given recipes for all of these bases, and some of my perfume formulations, which I've created for this course. You will also learn how to create your own formulae. You will know where to get top quality oils, absolutes, concretes, and attars. You will learn the vocabulary needed to describe the scents you are creating, sniffing, and/or profiling .  

You will learn how to create vertical and horizontal accords, preparing parts of future perfumes in advance of needing them. Learning about tincturing, infusing, and maceration will be included as part of the course, as well. Some plants do not yield up their aroma readily, so my notes and ideas are given on how to make a doppelganger of the desired scent. 

We will not spend much time on the history of perfume though several links are included in the resources section. It has been romanticized and theorized about in books, magazines, and on the internet, and you may read this material at your leisure. It is all very interesting, exciting, and wonderful to know where we’ve come from, as a population of people who have loved perfumes since the dawn of time. However, for my course, I am opting to leave that aspect of writing to those more deeply involved in it. I just love to make perfumes and I want to share that with you.  

We won't spend any time examining, comparing, or trying to re-create commercial perfumes as this is a course on Natural Perfume. 

Creating a natural perfume today is quite different from how it was created a hundred years ago simply due to the myriad botanical ingredients that are now available to us. We live in a time that is ripe for the making of our own household, bath, and beauty products. We are very fortunate, indeed.   

In this course, we will simply concern ourselves with the art of making perfume, the science and chemistry behind it will be included in the resource section. Again, there are many great books that one can study about the structure of essential oils, and botanical components. There is a reading list included in the courseware. 
The book called: The Scent Trail provides a wonderful olfactory journey into the origins of some of the materials we will be using in this course. It is recommended reading, though there are no projects or exam questions arising from it.

You will learn how to work with the energy of the substances you are holding: their colour, viscosity, tenacity, scent profile, and how they operate with one another, in other words, the spirit of the plant. One of the assignments is to create a Spiritual Perfume. 

We will create a Scent Song as we look at the work of Piesse. There are several supporting .pdf files that I will email to you for further reading and learning. 

The profiles of the twenty-one oils and absolutes covered in this course are given in three parts: aromatically, therapeutically, and spiritually. This includes safety information, as that is key to creating a wonderful product. You'll learn how to create a perfume for use in your personal spiritual rituals.   

There is always a lot of solid  information in my courses. You will need to purchase supplies, essential oils, and absolutes, so here is the list. Supplies List for the Natural Perfumery Course 2011.pdf Ambrette absolute can be used in place of the CO2.

Please have an in-depth look at my Links & Resources page for Suppliers. I have listed numerous ones in North America as well as several in Europe, UK, and AU.

If you would like to know more about this informative and aromatic course, please email with any questions you may have. It can be ordered through the PayPal button below. 

Here are the essential oils and absolutes we will be covering in the course so you can go ahead and begin to order them.  It's easier on the budget when you don't have to do it all at once. As well, if you look at my links page, you will see many tried and trusted suppliers to get you started. Make sure none of these essential oils/absolutes are diluted in jojoba as they won't mix with alcohol if they are. As well, you want 100% not a 10 or 20 % dilution. You will be making your own dilutions.

Base Note
Heart Note
Head Note
Ambrette Seed CO2 or absolute
Cinnamon Leaf
Bergamot fcf
Jasmine grandiflorum absolute
Black Pepper
Lavender absolute
Clary Sage
Sandalwood Santalum vanutua
Vanilla absolute
Rose maroc
Palma Rosa
Ylang Ylang extra
ethically sourced Rosewood or you can use Ho wood

Kind words from a student who is just completing Project 19-Passion for Perfume: 

I’m so grateful to you Lyn, who has been such a marvelous and patience teacher and still is when I’m writing this essay. Without your way of sharing your knowledge in perfumery with me, I would never have know how it feels to get deep into my selves and my olfactory in the way scents can do. 

Every morning and every night I think in Scents, Notes, Chords, Accords and how to combine the fragrances to the outstanding perfume. But after I have been thinking for a while I know that I don’t have that experience that I need and that I have to take all the time and read as much as I can to learn what I have to learn.
Today I’m not quite done with the course but I feel so satisfied that I chosen the course that suited me and from here I can develop my life while spending it with natural perfumery. VG, Sweden

Registration and Investment
All students must complete a Registration Form, which
I will send upon receipt of payment.
The Course: I am offering an in-depth, correspondence E-course on the basics of natural perfumery, so you can work at your own pace. The manual is well-written, professionally edited, with good photos, tables, and interesting assignments and experiments. There is on-going email support at no further cost.

The Investment: Going green? Great. I offer the entire manual by email and we can save a lot of trees by using this method. All projects can be sent to me by email and so can the Exam. $350.00 Should you wish the manual and supporting documents mailed, there is a $25.00 printing charge and a $35.00 shipping charge so the course will then be $410.00

The Exam: I don't offer the proctored exam until the six-month point as there are 26 projects and 16 samples to complete and send in. This doesn't happen overnight. There should be no rush to complete this course. The exam consists of 56 questions. There are no multiple choice so no option for guessing the right answer. You need to know your material before you write the exam. It takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete this exam and you will need a Proctor to be with you. There is a form they will need to fill out, and mail to me, attesting to the fact that you did the exam from memory. When you request the exam, you will need to let me know where to mail it to your Proctor. You will then sit the exam at their home or office. The Exam can be emailed to his or her office and the completed exam can be emailed back by your Proctor. The Proctor Form needs to be signed and sent via postal mail with a legible signature. The exam is not to leave the hands of the Proctor except for the time you are actually writing the it.

Natural Perfume Correspondence Course green $350.00

Natural Perfume Correspondence Course mailed out $410.00
Return Policy
This is a correspondence course and as such may be started at any time convenient to you. I do not offer a refund once the course has been emailed out as, by that time, you have the full course material hence all that you need, and that I have put my heart into creating, to learn the art of the course you have ordered.
Thank you.

The students who have gone through this course have all rated it Five Star
Student Comments, so far:
"My passion for perfume was again ignited when I signed up for Lyn’s Natural Perfumery Course. It truly is a path to the heart of my spirit. I enjoyed the course immensely. Lyn is a dedicated, wonderful teacher with lots of information to share. I enjoyed the alchemy of creating scents for the soul. It was one of the greatest gifts for me and for my personal and spiritual development. Thank you Lyn!" GB, Ontario, Canada
"Many thanks to Lyn. Her teaching was so useful for me. Before I met her, I was so unsure about myself and my ability to create perfumes as a Professional Independent Perfumer. I have to say that I really enjoyed this six-month course in which I made such great progression, thanks to her help. I recommend her course to everyone who wishes to be assisted with much respect from one being to another." Therese Steigert, Paris, France
"Lyn is one of the most generous teachers I've ever had. Her patience with me while I asked all kinds of questions, most of the answers were in the manual, really kept me going. She would answer and/or refer me to the page number to look at in the manual. I am not the same person after completing this course. I have a deep affinity for our planet and all that she offers. I look at scent in a different way and can really smell what's out there. My garden has doubled in size and I'm really looking forward to it blooming this summer. Lyn has blessed me with a deeper look at my spiritual side. I'll be forever thankful to her for her kind heart and generous soul. Thanks, Lyn" Love MM, Southern USA
"I'm working towards my degree and use the course as a reward for when I've done my other homework. Lyn is a great teacher who knows her stuff; a true gem of a person." IM, USA
"I'm working on creating abundance in my life so I can come and meet Lyn in person. Her course is amazing and I'm learning so much." BB, USA
"I enjoy to Lyn courses so much. My English not good. but course is good. Thank You." JC, USA
"I love this course! This is the best thing I have done for myself. It's as if my soul is saying to me...'you finally listened to what I want you to do'." MN, USA
"I am grateful to find your course. For many years when I smell a scent of a flower I feel so curious how could I recreate that same natural scent and share the beauty of it with others. That is why a wish to take this course and find out am I creative enough  to make fragrances. Again I deeply thankful to find this course teaching about NATURAL perfumery but mostly to connect with you,-someone who is not afraid to share this secret knowledge with others." JI, AU

"I'm loving this course. It is opening up spaces within me that I did not know where there. I'm happy to recommend this course to anyone interested in having a better understanding of natural scents. With love and gratitude for your wonderful gift to the world." JG, AU

"I am an intuitive learner so I knew right away it was the course I wanted to take. I felt very good about your approach to the essences. For my Birthday, I decided to give myself the perfect gift for me - your course. I've been happily enjoying it ever since - the gift that keeps on giving. Thanks, Lyn" CN, Japan

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... a five minute meditation. If you will have all your components ready (listed in the text below) you can go ahead and make up this lovely perfume called "Perfumers' Journey". If you create it in alcohol, use a 5 ml bottle you will need to add 68 drops of Perfumers' alcohol to these 32 drops of blended essential oils for a 32% Perfume. Enjoy.

First, we want to ground to Gaia, our Mother Earth. The base notes of Vetiver grass, the tree resin from Frankincense, the heartwood of Sandalwood, and the root of Iris are rich and grounding; all of these connecting us to the earth and manifesting the full-bodied notes from the spiritual into physical realm.
Creating the Centre of Being from the floral heart notes of Rose maroc, Jasmine g, Ylang Ylang, Osmanthus, Orange Blossom absolute, and Neroli, we flesh out the aroma and give it heart. One by one, we drop them in to form the whole and find synergy as a group, creating something else, entirely.

Finally, those elusive head notes, which momentarily flicker before leading the way to Spirit; teasing, frolicking, promising the Light touch of the Ethereal. Eventually, these are the ones that will make the first fleeting impression on the sniffer. Rosewood, Coriander, Bergamot, and Cinnamon leaf. 
When the last drop is in, they react to one another forming alliances and taking the traveler to exotic destinations. 
What do you want the wearer to feel? Where do you want them to go? … leading the willing deeper and deeper, note by note,  into the depths of  the scent. Journeying whiff by whiff to bygone and long forgotten times; except by the nose.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reprint: The Fragrant Powder in Which Queen Isabel Packed Her Dresses by Kirsten Schilling

The Fragrant Powder in Which Queen Isabel Packed Her Dresses

I discovered this recipe in a book of period herbals very early in my aromatic career. For me, the desire was strong to simply recreate the fragrance, and in so doing, experience a sensory moment of Spanish history. But during an idle moment in a Barnes and Nobles, I happened upon a book of Tudor and Jacobean portraiture called Dynasties by Karen Hearn of the Tate Gallery in London. Queen Isabel's portrait and life story, as well as her fragrant, bejewelled dresses, quite drew me in!

Karen Hearn writes "Isabel's relationship to Philip II of Spain is articulated primarily through the striking device of the brilliant rose-pink dress. Wearing this colour, which is very unusual in a portrait, was a recognised sign of love. Indeed, there existed a romantic attachment between Philip and Isabel and their marriage certainly inaugurated a period of social and cultural vivacity at the Spanish court. It is, however, difficult to separate personal emotions from political decorum during this period and her portrait would also have been understood in the context of the relationship between France and Spain. The peace treaty of Cateau-Cambresis, signed in April 1559, was sealed and guaranteed by the marriage between Philip and Isabel. Isabel was christened 'Isabel de la Paz' and taken to their hearts by the Spanish. Her portrait characterisation as young, beautiful, dressed in warm pink and laden with jewels similarly represented her as a kind of peace-trophy: the embodiment of optimism and love." (Hearn, 57).

Reflecting on the considerable personal and political pressures inherent in Isabel's union with Philip II of Spain at 14 years of age, I re-visited her recipe with less of a sensory, and more of a historian's, curiosity.I soon realized that her Apothecary most certainly took these same personal and political considerations in hand. For Isabel's recipe was much more than a casual fragrance to make her dresses smell sweet and pretty. Indeed, this recipe is closer in nature to a magical prescription, a concoction if you will, carefully and intentionally designed according to ancient folk meaning and symbolism, even invoking the influence of the stars.Apothecaries, perfumers, chemists, and pharmacists of this time were well-versed in astrology, astronomy and the celestial correlations and assignations of planetary influences upon the human body. Likewise, many cures, medicines, and perfumes for the human body were carefully designed using plants and medicines that were deemed to be an astrologically harmonious cure for the problem/or malady at hand. Consider this quote by Paracelsus "Every physician should simultaneously be an alchemist and an astrologer." (Junius, 96). In my opinion, the carefully selected, balanced, even romantic, combination of ingredients used in Isabel's dress powder reflect these philosophies and considerations.

Queen Isabel's Sachet Powder for Scenting Dresses

Gum Benzoin
Red Rose Petals

First, I took note of one of the most commonly used aphrodisiac ingredients of this time period; Coriander. Many herbals of the time period connect Coriander with the fiery, sexual, spicy, active, procreative energies of Mars. But I discovered that Coriander has a dual association with the planet Venus. Certain plants, according to The Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy by Manfred Junius, were affiliated with more than one planetary body. So - the Renaissance-era herbals regard Coriander to contain the masculine, procreative energy of Mars as well as the feminine, alchemical planet Venus within the very seed itself! "As Ishtar or Ashtaroth, Venus was the goddess of sexual love in Babylon, as Aphrodite in Greece... she ruled over love between man and woman." (Junius, 110) Venus, planet and goddess, also ruled over alchemy. Consider the 'Sacred Marriage' between Philip and Isabel as well as between France and Spain as Junius continues "This planet rules the arts, harmony, proportion, affection, and the ability to integrate separate things into a whole and to mediate between opposites.".

Next, take note of the Calamus root or Sweet Flag, an herb of the Sun. This herb was believed to lend its solar aspects of the masculine, the golden, consciousness, clarity and its life-giving properties to the user. Quite a powerful combination with the soft, sweet, violet-scented powder of Orris, root of the Florentine Iris, a lunar herb and common fixative in natural perfumery since antiquity. The Moon and its influence were believed to lend Orris the lunar qualities of fertility, conception, a capacity for feelings, motherliness, family and heritage to the user (Junius, 101-105). I don't believe that this Apothecary's archetypal marry-ing of Orris and Sweet Flag, the Masculine sun and the Feminine moon, can be overlooked. Like Isabel's rose-pink dress, this powder was carefully designed and prepared with a specific symbolism in mind.

Finally, in closing, we have the most dominant ingredient in Isabel's dress powder, the Red Rose of Venus. "All roses, according to legend, were originally white. They turned red only from the blood of Aphrodite, who was pricked by a rose thorn as she rushed to save the dying Adonis. Drops of her blood fell and dyed the rose red; the red rose thereby became the symbol of enduring love..." from Ancient Herbs by Marina Heilmeyer.

Sadly, Queen Isabel died in childbirth, aged 22, in 1568.

copyright Kirsten Schilling, 2009, Arabesque Aromatics, reprinted by permission by Le Parfumeur Rebelle