this scented week in review

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This scented week in review:

CALENDAR – so I finally took the bull by the horns, sat down and planned out 13 months in advance, of course in pencil because shit happens. Now that’s done.

ASPIRINA C – actually, I should have put the Aspirin C beside the calendar because that exercise in itself was enough to give me a headache!  Not only, but I’m battling a cold. Again.  My own damn fault because I could be eating better and getting more exercise. Thank goodness for all the tomorrows of our lives.

ACCORDS – two are a Fougere and three are based on Black Spruce absolute and they’ve been maturing since August. Have I narrowed them down yet? Right! Think again. Some of them are fabulous all on their own and I am always hesitant to compound them. This is why I think I’m more inclined to follow a building block approach to composing, one drop at a ponderous time.

UNDILUTED – black spruce and tiare absolute undiluted. Divine!  I’ve been sniffing these together to get a sense of a possible fit. Also because I’m still not sure at all about the heart.  I think I’m aiming too high. Maybe I just need to build a heart that simply (there’s a charged word!) reflects my initial intention.

NOTEBOOK – I’ve been furiously accumulating thoughts, ideas and insights for the blog for 2015. Lots of interesting things to come!

CALLIGRAPHY PEN – for as long as I can remember I have been in love with calligraphy. I honestly think I will never own enough pens. Ever. Ink is something that gives me goosebumps. Writing is part of my DNA. For years my friend and I would be on the lookout for calligraphy workshops in Toronto but never were able to find any. Imagine my joy when I rediscovered it online! I found tools, and templates and everything and have begun practicing drills – circles and lines, lines and circles.  I feel the rush of love and it’s a wonderful compliment to my perfume making – thoughtful, flowing, introspective.  Perfumery and calligraphy.  A match made in heaven, I’d say.  This pen I bought about five years ago in Amalfi during our very first vacation together.

NIBS – found a whole load of nibs stashed away and thoroughly enjoyed pulling them out and playing with them again!

FOUNTAIN PEN INK – this I bought for my fountain pen but it’s a great ink for the calligraphy pen too.  Let the love affair begin!

In-joy!

MC


 

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aromatic profile: brazilian pepper berry

brazilian-pepper3


Common name: Brazilian Pepper berry (a.k.a. Rose pepper, Brazilian pepper)

Genus name: Schinus terebinthifolius (a species of the Cashew family Anacardiaceae)

Supplier: Hermitage

Note: Heart

Family: (cool) Spicy

Diffusion: 5

Blends well with: black pepper, pink pepper, citruses, bergamot, Sumac (smoke tree)

Chemical components: Mostly mono­terpene hydro­carbons (to­gether about 10% of the mass of the dried berries): 21% Δ3‑carene, 20% α‑pinene, 13% α‑phell­andrene, 9% limonene, 8% p‑cymene and 6% β‑phell­andrene. Further­more, mono­terpene, sequi­terpene and tri­terpene deri­va­tives were re­ported: cis‑sabinole, carvo­tanacetone, β‑caryo­phyllene, α‑ and β‑cubebane, α‑amyrin, α‑amyrenone, mastica­dienoic acid and hydroxy­mastica­dienoic acid. The sweet taste (cf. licorice) of the dried berries is due to considerable amounts of sugar. (Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages)

The major constituents are a-pinene 16.3%, limonene 13.3%, delta 3-carene 10.8%. The content of phellandrene is 8% and this is responsible for the peppery element of this oil. (Hermitage)

Pink peppercorns don’t have any of the pungent piperine found in black, white, and green pepper heat, but they do have other aroma compounds in common. Pinene, limonene, phellandrene, and carene are found in both types of peppercorns. Terpene flavour Compound family – highly volatile and easily evaporate and oxidize when exposed to air, light, and heat. (Table Fare)

Interesting bits: grown widely as an ornamental plant, native of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.  Not to be confused with Pink pepper because it is not a true pepper, although related to the Schinus molle.  This shrub or small tree can thrive in all kinds of ecosystems. This is also a melliferous plant meaning it produces a substance that can be collected by insects and turned into honey.

Their nose: The smell is a cleaner version of pink pepper, soft, gentle, enticing, it draws you in and just when you think you understand the smell, it hits you with a gorgeous, warm, peppery punch. (Hermitage)

My nose: Of course this opens up wildly pungent, piercing, happily spicy, terpine-like, radiant and sunny! It follows through, 15 minutes later, to become warm, sort of Cedarwood in quality, pencil shavings is what I get here. 30 minutes on and it’s still pungent, piercingly clean, a bit understated now, exotic, masculine a bit herbaceous. After 45 minutes I still get pencil shavings, strongly terpenic, a flash of spice, fading but much more slowly, and I remember sharpening my pencil in front of the classroom. 1 hour later and I get particles, pieces, shavings, hushed and woody, yes, that facet comes through strongly for me, cooler now, lingering and definitely not imposing. 2 hours later and it’s much less terpenic, much more green in quality, now I can envision it with florals, much less aggressive, but also less radiant now too, I see the leaves of the rose not the blossom when I smell Brazilian pepper.  Then 3 hours later it’s a very no-nonsense, clean, clear-cut smell dwindling down to a very refreshing note.  7 hours into the dry down and it’s somewhat piercing, dry, the paper is coming through and it’s almost gone.  24 hours later and it’s still clean, clear, still fully “peppery” and quite long lasting.

Musings on composition: I get this working with Cedarwood, Sandalwood or Fir Absolute, even with my beloved Black Spruce Absolute.

aromatic profile: black pepper

black-pepper1


Common name: Black pepper

Genus name: Piper nigrum

Supplier: Perfumery Art School (part of our school kit)

Note: Heart to Top

Family: Spicy

Diffusion: 6

Blends well with: See my other post on Green Pepper tincture.

Chemical components: See my other post on Green Pepper tincture.

Interesting bits: In the winters, black pepper essential oil becomes a great substitute used as warmth-generating aromatherapy constituents. Black pepper essential oil is used as an aromatherapy massage oil, to increase the blood circulation. The essential oil can make a room feel warmer and cosier when used in an aromatherapy diffuser. (Fragrantica)

Their nose: See my other post on Green Pepper tincture.

My nose: pungent, spicy, wakes you up, but warm though. Lovely.  It’s like a burst of sunshine. That’s how black pepper begins its story for me. Then after 15 minutes it becomes comforting, very warm, very familiar, subtle and elegant, refined. It was so surprising for me to find black pepper to have a gentle, lived-in feeling. It was like rediscovering an old friend. 30 minutes later and it’s still very alive, familiar, citrus quality(?), it seems to add structure, a certain predictability, sharp. After 45 minutes I just love this note, now there is a sweetness to it. It’s glowing softly, it’s sheer! It’s light and translucent; it’s as if the presence of black pepper could gentrify the whole. 1 hour later and it remains just beneath the surface with a sensation of ice, this note is very integral, almost proud. 2 hours and it’s still pungent, it almost has the ability to make you forget it’s the humble black pepper. Clean, freshly pressed, centred. The prevalent impression is clean at this point. 3 hours later and it is still explosive, powerful, thin, dry, very dry actually and refreshing. After 7 hours it is still pungent and piercing but no longer really noticeable as black pepper. 24 hours into the dry down and it still possesses that uplifting characteristic, though fleeting — much more so than the Brazilian Pepper berry. Still recognisable as pepper because it is sharper.

Musings on composition: more than intellectual, I can feel this note together with other top notes to add radiance, the kind of radiance that Galbanum imparts to a blend or that we get from other synthetics like green leaf alcohol.

Hey! Get out there and smell something different today OR smell the ordinary differently.

aromatic profile: green pepper tincture

green-pepper


Common name: Green Pepper

Genus name: Piper nigrum (of the Piperaceae family) native of Malabar India

Supplier: bought a small bag from the grocery store and tinctured in 96° alcohol

Note: Heart to Top

Family: (cool) Spicy/Green

Diffusion: 3

Blends well with: gourmand accords, Oriental accords, spice accords, amber bases particularly with sandalwood, rosemary, citrus, lavender, ginger, clove, lemon, coriander, geranium, litsea cubeba

Chemical components: a-pinene 30.7%, b-pinene 16.2%, d-3-carene – 1-15%, b-myrcene 0.8%, limonene 19.3%, elemene 2.1%, B-elemene 0.1%, B-caryophyllene 4.8%. (naturalextracts.com)

piperine, piperetine and piperidine, amides-peperyline, piperoleins. (Fragrantica)

Interesting bits: Pepper grows as a woody, climbing and flowering vine that can reach up to five meters. Green Pepper essential oil is directly distilled from the unripe, undried green colored peppercorns (the fruit). Black peppercorns are formed when the unripe pepper is picked and then dried in the sun. (White Lotus Aromatics)

Black Pepper, christened as “King of Spices” and “Black gold” is the most important and the most widely used spice in the world, occupying a position that is supreme and unique. Black pepper essential oil is stimulating, warming, comforting and cheerful. The quality of pepper is contributed to by two components. Piperine that contributes the pungency and volatile oil that is responsible for the aroma and flavour. (Fragrantica)

The flowers may be unisexual, with monoecious or dioecious forms, or may be hermaphrodite…The pepper is crushed to a coarse powder and on steam distillation in which ammonia is evolved (in common with, for example, ginger, pimento and cubebs). (Fragrantica)

Their nose:  a fresh, light. spicy-aromatic(pepper-elemi-cubeb complex) bouquet with a dry, woody, terpenic undertone (White Lotus Aromatics)

hot and bracing note, short-lived and earthy spice…pleasant, fresh, spicy and peppery, warm, woody (Fragrantica)

My nose: my green pepper tincture opens with a light, barely-there element, then the pepper jumps out! Green, wow! Uplifting, spicy, almost watery and watered down, yes I definitely get that impression of dilution. 15 min later and it’s now very exotic spicy, like India, I get India with this tincture. Almost aniseed-like, aged, old, like it’s been sitting in the spice cabinet for years. After 30 minutes it’s fading very quickly, I don’t seem to get a thing when I sniff, just a vague impression of aniseed. 45 minutes into the dry down and now it’s just a glimpse, a hint of green and pepper is the last impression. It’s a cool spice note. Aniseed tea that mom used to give us for tummy aches. After 1 hour when it slides into the heart note it’s almost gone, I have to blow on it to wake it up but the pepper quality is still in tact. After 2 hours it smells faintly of a spice cupboard but it’s pretty much gone only a slight green note remains. 3 hours later and there’s a faint smell of spice lingering so is the aniseed thing. 7 hours into the dry down and all I get is a faint green impression mingled with paper – dry!  24 hours later and the impression of green pepper is so faint I think I’m imagining it. It’s gone.  But for a tincture it lasted much longer than expected.

Musings on composition: I would use this tincture as a base or backdrop for colognes because the impression is so weak, but that’s what I would want anyway. I discovered spicy can be both cool and warm and that this particular tincture could straddle both the green and the spicy family. Hmmm, all these facets of the single notes that no one can teach me really, I simply have to discover them for myself as I open up to learning more.

Wishing you a wonder-filled day!

aromatic profile: tuberose absolute

tuberose-absolute


Common name: Tuberose

Genus name: Polianthes tuberosa

Supplier: Proxisanté

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 7

Blends well with: carnation, gardenia, jasmin, neroli, peru balsam, rose otto, violet, ylang ylang (Artisan Aromatics). Beeswax absolute, benzoin absolute, bergamot, amyris, bois de rose, caraway seed co2 and eo, carrot seed co2 and eo, clary sage eo and abs, clove bud eo and abs, coriander seed co2 and eo, frangipani abs, geranium eo and abs, ho wood eo, labdanum abs, mandarin eo, narcissus abs, neroli eo, oakmoss abs, orange flower abs, mandarin petitgrain eo, petitigrain eo, lemon petitgrain eo, rose abs, tonka bean abs, violet leaf abs, sandalwood eo and abs, ylang ylang abs and eo (White Lotus Aromatics)

Chemical components: Methyl benzoate, methyl anthranilate, benzyl alcohol, butyric acid, eugenol, nerol, farnesol, geraniol, 1,8-cineole, limonene, sabinene, a-pinene, b-pinene, indole, myrcene, camphor, methyl salicilate

Interesting bits: “The Pre-Columbian Indians of Mexico first domesticated the Tuberose, one of the most fragrant of all flowers. It was one of the first plants introduced to the Old World from Mexico.” – Eden Botanicals

“Tuberose (Polianthes tuberose) is a plant belonging to the lily family (Amaryllidaceae) native to Central America. Like most night blooming flowers, tuberose is pollinated by nocturnal moths, which explains the white shade of the flowers. Like jasmine, tuberose continues to produce its scent even after the flower is picked, thus, lending itself as a perfect candidate to the traditional painstaking enfleurage method.” – Bois de Jasmin

“In Ayurvedic tradition, tuberose is also known to stimulate serenity, creativity and psychic powers….tuberose is frequently combined with jasmine and orange blossom, lending further opulent depth to one and dark richness to the other.” -Bois de Jasmin

Their nose: “tuberose absolute opens up with a faint green note before warming into a sweet jasmine-like scent underscored by a rubbery accord. It vacillates between the coconut sweetness and the warm skin impression, as it dries down.” – Bois de Jasmin

“This sensuous deep orange-golden brown oil has a warm, very sweet, “plump” and most intoxicating floral aroma with peach leaf and soft spice-like background notes.” – Eden Botanicals

There’s a great article on Fragrantica with perfumer Pierre Bernard around the Tuberose note. It’s an insightful read with lots of good information.  I could cut and paste forever but the best thing would be for you to just mosey on over there and give it read.

My nose: as Tuberose opens up I get waxy, warm, soft, fruity, sweet and thick. 15min later it’s still warm, comforting, blossoms, the colour orange just jumped out, carnal, fleshy, natural, exotic and lush is what strikes me. 30min later and now its fully floral-POW! In your face floral, sweet, thick, lushiousness, plummy, deep, feminine, golden and oh, so beautiful! After 45min it gets fuller, almost as if it’s now waking up. It’s beguiling, tempting, engaging. This note saunters, sways, it’s in no rush; aphrodisiac, almost like you don’t recognise it’s a floral. As it slides into the heart notes 1 hour later I get such a strong impression of a woman! Fully present now, like a liqueur, yes, smooth, sensual, like a liqueur. Elegant and sublime. 2 hours and now it’s less warm, I sense it now ready to interact with other notes, seems like the true heart moment is opening up at this point; it nuzzles, comforts and reassures you.  3 hours and now it’s becoming sweeter, softer, more floral still, I can smell a slight decay of petals and it’s more quiet and even more composed if that is at all possible.  7 hours into the dry down and do I smell it together with pepper? Now I smell a powdery aspect that wasn’t there before; it’s greener too, also more fruity, drier, more down to earth. 24 hours and it’s settling down into the base notes and it’s still present on the strip though much softer, more alluring, the sweetness is a pure delight. This is a beautiful note all by itself! 4 days later and Tuberose is still identifiable on my scent strip!

Musings on composition: being a night blooming flower makes me consider other night blooming flowers to pair it with but also makes me want to take much care in supporting its gentle opening; notes that coax and coddle rather than poke and prod. Since I am drawn to compose by pairing or juxtaposing chemical compounds camphor strikes me as a possible note to pair with Tuberose, an aspect that would almost wake it up with verve the way I like to get up in the morning.

Keep exploring, being curious and wondering!

aromatic profile: osmanthus absolute

osmanthus-absolute


Common name: Osmanthus absolute

Genus name: Osmanthus fragrans

Supplier: Proxisanté

Note: Heart-Base

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 8+

Blends well with: champa abs., benzoin abs., styrax eo, agarwood eo, agalia odorata abs., cassie abs., mimosa abs., ambrette seed abs., ylang ylang abs and eo, davana eo saffron eo, jasmine sambac abs, jasmine auriculatum abs., broom abs., orange blossom abs., fir balsam abs., tuberose abs., frangipani abs., bakul abs. (White Lotus Aromatics)

Chemical components: “The essence of osmanthus naturally contains cis-jasmone (a white floral note), gamma-decalactone and various delta-lactones (peachy-milky notes) as well as several ionones derivates, which accounts for its violet-like sweetness” – Perfume Shrine

“Among the carotenoids of Osmanthus are all trans-beta-Carotene, all trans-alpha-Carotene and Neo-beta-carotene B.” – Fragrantica

Linolenic acid – 17.4%, Linoleic acid – 8.7%, Hexadecanoic acid – 8.6%, b-ionone – 7.6%, dihydro b-ionone – 6.4%, Geraniol – 1.2%, Linalool – 0.8% and a-ionone 0.6% – Essential Oil University

Interesting bits: native to Asia from the Himalayas through southern China to Taiwan and southern Japan and southeast Asia as far south as Cambodia and Thailand. (Wikipedia).

According to Leffingwell: “While the flowers of osmanthus range from silver-white (Osmanthus fragrans Lour. var. latifolius Mak.) to gold-orange (Osmanthus fragrans Lour. var. thunbergii Mak.) to reddish (Osmanthus fragrans Lour. var. aurantiacus Mak.), the extract (alcohol absolute) is usually prepared from the gold-orange flowers.”

“Member of the Oleaceae family like olive and Lilac.  Highly valued as an additive for tea and other beverages where the aromatic extract comes from the golden yellow flowers variety…the variant Osmanthus fragrans Lour. has more carotenoids in its chemical make-up which contributes both to the sunnier colouring as well as the enhanced aroma.” Perfume Shrine

This is an evergreen shrub or a small tree.  I don’t know why, but in my mind I pictured this as a big ol’ tree.

Their nose: “the initial top note is somewhat fruity and sweet comparable maybe to eating yellow Mirabelle plums late in the summer. However it is the heart note that makes this utterly spectacular as I detect an infusion of sweet juicy Apricots, fresh cream and a thick helping of Greek Honey.” – Hermitage

“a complex, incredibly rich, sweet, honeyed, floral, leathery, fruity bouquet with elegant precious woods, animalic, spicy undertone.” – White Lotus Aromatics

“It has a green note, but also a dark, earthy quality – almost like old leather – and a fruity, violet floral (methyl ionone & beta ionone) note, which I suspect many people will experience as fresh raspberry-like. It’s very complex and deep, but really not much like smelling the flowers.” – Chris Bartlett of Pell Wall Perfumes, on Basenotes

“fruity-leathery smells evoking plums, apricots and prunes” – Fragrantica

My nose: this is a power floral to me!  There’s nothing, faint, quaint or “nice” about Osmanthus. Those just aren’t words that come to mind when I smell this note. Osmanthus opens up waxy, orangey, BIG, BOLD, and warm, with a very heavy presence for me. After 15min the olfactive “size” is what sticks out most, it’s cloying, cluttering, demanding and there’s still a very strong element of waxiness but now that seems to be settling down, warm and sweet.  30min later and I smell it with Tobacco absolute.  Dense and thick like a thick floral, fruity fog, I feel prisoner, held in its gutsy, juicy pressing folds.  45min into the evaluation and this note just seems to get bolder and bolder! Still a bit waxy but not distractingly so, definitely floral, something assertive in this note that’s why I smell it with Tobacco, a very male presence, dominating, at its core.  1 hour later and it’s still waxy, but now the fruity aspect is more front and centre, sweet, thick, bountiful, gives the impression of abundance.  Very deep scent, sensual and direct.  2 hours later and this note is still loud. It can be “heard” above the other two notes I’m evaluating (Tuberose and Peach concrete).  A bit waxy still but now it’s like it’s freer, more narcotic, oriental, in a word voluptuous.  Its proportions are XL. 3hours into the dry down and its only now I smell the apricoty fruity nuancees. I get dappled sunlight in summer, laying in the grass after having eaten a fruit, jammy ripe, but it’s beginning to taper off to something more subdued.  7 hours later and this seems to be full blown now!  Like its sort of exploded.  Definitely a drier floral note, but still rich and ripe, the fruity aspect has really taken a back seat, still very heavy.  24 hours later and it’s softer, more aged in character but still bold, round, now it’s totally approachable, no longer dominating, it has settled into something much more elegant and refined.  3 days later and it is still present on the scent strip! Monstrous!

Musings on composition: there’s a lot to say about Osmanthus, as you can see. It’s a BIG scent, that’s for sure and so my instincts draw me to counter balance that by little things, supporting actors that totally make this note either shine on its own or convince it to contribute its greatness to the “good of the whole” thereby raising the entire perfume to a whole other level. Of course you’ll have to research and experience what those supporting actors could be for you. As I mentioned above I totally smell an invisible synergy with Tobacco – I’ll have to prove that in some trials eventually. In reading I found that the plant matures in the spring, about six months after flowering. When I check this seeming nothingness with my notes I see that to me it becomes full blown after 6 hours. Hmmm, just another way to look at composition ideas.

Happy Monday!  Remember to love and laugh too.