pushing the boundaries of scent


Yesterday I was itching to explore my creative boundaries so I sat on the couch for what felt like a very long time contemplating, listening. Sounds counter productive I know but I needed to trust that it was right.  What lay beyond called me.  I felt like I was in a garden surrounded by a beautiful wall, after perusing its perimeter I was curious about what lay on the other side.

The Ionone blends that I did for the class experiment were still sitting there looking at me, and an inspiration that I got from an article I read recently popped into my head inviting me to try an unexplored direction: why not apply a few drops to one of the many rocks, pebbles and stones that LV and I have a passion for collecting wherever we find ourselves? Ooooh, intrigue!

I wanted to reach beyond the scent strip, to feel what it would be like to hold an object that I have loved collecting since childhood and smell something I created imprinted upon it. The effect was wonderful and oddly fitting because without planning it I applied a powder base accord to a smooth, round, egg-shaped, object.  They both share some of the very same qualities! On the rock the accord is whimsical, floral, powdery, airy, dry, feminine, dusty, and dries down to a feathery, downy smile.

Obviously I can’t carry around a rock for every note I’m exploring but I have decided to use this as a way to explore hidden corners and facets of accords or formulations that I’m currently working on.  I’ve no doubt that turning something ephemeral like perfume into a tactile object could provide me with hidden inspiration.

Today on my walk I picked up this interesting piece of a branch and snapped a few shots in the studio.  I’m still working on getting my shots crystal clear but I’m quite happy with the overall look and feel.  It was the perfect compliment to what I was trying to achieve.

Have a happy day!


6 thoughts on “pushing the boundaries of scent

  1. Hello Maxine, I love your blog and all the interesting alleyways you go into! I get your updates every few days and it’s one of the so few, that I find inspiring.. perfuming the rock, that’s beautiful – if I don’t wear the frangrance, the stone will.
    Today, I enjoyed reading how you are hesitant towards the Rose – maybe your future lies there dormant? precisely because you are waiting, for now….
    After reading the pieces on tincturing I tried putting resins (pine, that i found, or benzoe from the shop) in lavender oil – I once bought a half litre at a lavender distillery in the Provence when I was there on holiday. It works beautifully… I tend to hover in between the art of perfumery and its pleasures, and the craft of aromatherapy and its blessings… enormous fun isn’t it!
    thanks for writing it up for us and greetings from the Netherlands,


    1. Hello Eline!
      Thank you for commenting and so glad you enjoy the articles. Oh, how wonderful to meet a fellow tincture lover! Hmmm, interesting observation, perhaps my future does lie in the rose :), I like that!


      1. Hi Maxine, thanks for replying 😉 i worked with orange blossom absolute recently and wouldn’t have dared earlier.. . , a few weeks ago, i dared and now i go back to this bottle, and there it is, hidden among the other beauties, and it is as if she gives purpose to all the other ingredients. these super extracts are immensely powerful – if you look for that, i found. it’s way more than ‘simple fragrance’ … as if fragrance were simple…

        as to tinctures: i put another batch of resins in a pot of lavender oil and they dissolved almost completely, saturating the oil which turned a wonderful chesnut colour. the smell is great too, it’s like the lavender embraces the resins (pine and sundry) … all for the love of summer – beginning of August I’ll be in Provence, yahoo, i will be collecting all sorts of goodies, herbals for teas and so on. Can’t wait – looking forward to your next post, greetings Eline


      2. Hmm, orange blossom absolute? How does that differ from Neroli, is it the same thing? And wow, I wouldn’t have thought that orange blossom would be such a unifier, thanks for the insight :).

        And oooh, my favourite tinctures, resins! What do you mean you put the lavender in the resin tincture? How does that work? Love your imaginative approach to tincturing though! Cheers!


      3. Hi Maxine isn’t it cool the internet is getting us together.. as to my approach, it’s based in not having access to ‘normal’ techniques for financial reasons, it makes me try stuff, if it doesn’t work, i find out… but surprisingly, a great deal of stuff tends to work. I got this great Ricard bottle of Lavandin oil from a distillery in Provence a few years ago, and that’s what i use to put my resins in. So there’s no alcohol involved. You get this sweet marriage between all the components. You see, i have never learned to do any of this according to ‘ the rules’ I learned a few basics from my former boss, he specialises in the emotional effects and impacts of (floral) essential oils.
        My orange blossom absolute came from him. It’s not the same as Neroli… at all. It is dark orange in colour and slightly syrupy.The fragrance is almost bitter, potent, immense, the citrusy and floral sweet happiness (how do i put it) the extasy of Neroli, comes behind the bitterness – which is not woody at all but like an enormous compactness in the fragrance. OB Abs is also hugely expensive, one of the heftiest prices in the business….. but when i put a few small drops in a mixture containing Neroli and Myrrh (and the obiquitous Lavandin) it is like it takes charge of the whole. When i use a tiny drop of this, incorporated in another mixture, one containing Vetiver, Galbanum and many other things, again the Absolute takes charge, almost imerceptibly diluted, still it rules from afar. also on hot skin in the July heat after a while, I can still feel it’s there.
        I’m a firm believer in absolutes whenever I can get my hands on them.. yesterday i made 5 formulas based on an old forlorn bottle that contains Violet flower and Leaf absolutes (and i don’t know what else, this was from the old insecure days when i couldn’t bother myself to write down the composition… silly talking monkey days but hey! not using the bottle and just let it sit in a corner wasn’t an option any more … and wow, a million things happen and again, there’s the Flower power coming through. I had so many reasons not to take up that bottle and now look at us…
        Dont’ you sometimes feel you are learning so much, taking in so much half- or even subconsciously, there’ s so much there…? There’s this limitless wealth, this bounty and you get to work with it, making your own things, … to me, often, it is as if they make themselves, they tell me what they want. And I trust them. and they give themselves freely. It’s so romantic!
        Haha, I guess Italy is even hotter than Holland at the moment… there’s a fig tree in my garden out back, on the South side, and I sit under it in its shade and fragrance,Thanks Maxine and talk again soon, Eline


      4. Ooops, forgot to respond to this one. Yes, gotta love the internet for getting like-minded people together! You’re right just having the courage to try stuff is a great way to experiment with the boundaries of our creativity. So, now I get why you use the Lavandin, you got it in Provence. And now of course you’ve got me quite curious about Orange Blossom, must get my nose into some. You’ve also got me looking differently at absolutes. I don’t have many but you are right they are a world unto themselves. I do know what you mean about feeling overwhelmed at times! My thing is that there are soooo many possibilities of combinations and I cant’t try them all! Damnit I have to choose! Take care, Eline, until next time.


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