Galbanum Coeur 1%

Common name(s): Galbanum Coeur, Galbanum Replacer

Chemical name: 2-methyl-4-phenyl-2-butyl acetate

CAS #: 8023-91-4

Supplier: Pell Wall

Note: Heart

Family: Green

Diffusion: 4

Dilution: 1%

Blends well with: Now it stands to reason that since this is a synthetic galbanum replacer, it should blend well with those notes that galbanum absolute blends with such as: ambroxan, green algae absolute, benzyl benzoate, bois de rose, cistus, clary sage, costus root, ethyl linalool, fir balsam absolute, flouve absolute, ho wood, linalool, lavender absolute, mimosa absolute and so on… (TGSC)

Their nose: dry, green, balsamic, galbanum, herbal/herbaceous

My nose: right away in the opening the obvious impression is green, but as I scrutinise this smell further there is a youthful, early springtime joyful feeling to it. There are elements of sharpness, it’s high-pitched, vibrant and happy. A scant 15min later and now I smell similarities with castoreum! What the heck?! Still green and dry. 30min into the evaluation and the impression is more a faded green and it’s beginning to seriously morph and retreat right before my consciousness. It leaves me question if it’s off, gone bad, or stale? Now it’s 45min and there is still a hint of the animalic, less luminous than before, and the green is still prevalent. After 1hr it seems I’ve sort of lost the thread of this note. How does that happen I wonder…and then it strikes me that this could be a characteristic to be exploited this weaving in and out, disappearing act that this note could perform in a blend. 2hrs and all I can get is a sweaty armpit odour and nothing else. Just a hint of green remains. One sniff of green is all I am able to capture 3hrs later. I feel so let down, I expected a lot of this material. Had constructed a whole impression in my head only to be “disappointed” by the real thing. 7hrs into the dry down and nothing. I can no longer smell this on the strip. There seems to be something but I’m afraid I could be making it up in my mind and so I hesitate. After 10hrs there is a thin veil of green galbanum and then it’s gone, poof! Invisible to my nose. 24hrs have passed now and I can pick up a hint of the green characteristic of galbanum, reminding me of a cool autumn day. Odd that this came alive again and accompanied with a cooler temperature impression.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my getting to know Galbanum Coeur and I would love to hear what your impressions are of this interesting material if you have it in your scent library.

Until Monday, have a wonder-filled week-end!

MC

Aldehyde C14

Common name(s): Aldehyde C14, Gamma-undecalactone

Chemical name: 5-heptyloxolan-2-one

CAS #: 104-67-6/57084-17-0

Supplier: 

Note: Heart

Family: Fruity

Diffusion: 3-5 (medium)

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Nonalactone, Oranage Blossom, Gardenia, Tuberose, beeswax absolute, benzyl salicylate, cassia bark eo, coriander seed eo, ethyl vanillin, lavender absolute Bulgaria, oakmoss absolute, sandalwood, vetiver eo, violet leaf absolute, ylang ylang, tonka bean absolute.

Interesting bits:  In spite of the name this material is not an aldehyde but a lactone as the chemical name confirms.

Not actually an aldehyde, it was given this name by the original creators to hide it’s true origins. (Olfactik)

Arctander has quite a bit to say about gamma-Undecalactone, including: “This material is widely used, although in minute amounts, in perfume compositions. In order of frequency in use, it ranks very high among the materials on the perfumer’s shelf. But it is not the kind of material ordinarily sold in drum-lots. However, after the success of a new perfume (type) in the 1950s, the title material had a further increase in popularity, when numerous perfumers used it at unusually high levels along with new non-Nitro musk chemicals, in order to duplicate part of the new note in the successful perfume. The author has yet to see a duplication which sells better than the original (in perfumes), but it must be admitted that Undecalactone drew benefit from this popularity. lt blends excellently with Nonalactone in Gardenia and Tuberose, and in many versions of Lilac bases. It extends the depth of an Orange blossom often too harsh with conventional materials, and it is a frequent component of Honeysuckle, etc. Concentrations far below 1% are effective, and it is at times possible to ruin a fragrance with 0.1 or 0.2% of the title material, just as well as it is possible to double the floral sweetness and depth of another fragrance with that amount of Undecalactone. The material was originally used in Violet perfumes, so popular at the time of discovery of this Lactone (about 1900). But its most important use today is in flavors, primarily in imitation Peach, but also in many fruity types, often as a fixative for the very volatile fruit esters.” (Pell Wall)

Their nose: Fruity, peach, creamy, fatty, lactonic, apricot, ketonic, coconut, nutty, vanilla (TGSC)

My nose: Aldehyde C14 has a sharp, somewhat soft opening, I know those two terms seem juxtaposed, but that’s how my brain interprets it. It twinkles a bit, smells somewhat oily and quickly moves into dry territory. After 15min it smells quite dry, polished, smooth with a hint of a paint-like effect. 30min after the opening this note is sheer, light, considerably dusty, thin and I can pick up the smell of the paper through the scent. 45min now and I’m still struck with how dry this note is, not so unpleasant to me as when I first met it a couple of years ago, I couldn’t stand it! It’s a pale note, stiff and scorched. 1hr later there is a tartiness, that remains piercing and dry although now a green quality seems to have shown up and a vacant sort of emptiness dots the olfactive landscape. It remains shrill as a note, thin and even unsettling, sharp and biting. The dryness is what satisfies me about this material after 2hrs. In the 3hrs of its evolution what remains is the green, dry, stripped bare expression, keeping it thin and sleek. I can see it adding this specific quality to a formula. 7hrs on and Aldehyde C14 remains thing, long and lanky. It’s polished, assertive and yes, still green somehow this keeps up in the background. 10hrs into the dry down and what I smell is twinkling light and airy. I can smell the paper, brisk and bright even after 10 hours. 24hrs later this is pretty much the same as before only bone dry, arid and unswept, piercing and brittle.

Some of the things I mused on while profiling this material: not to overthink what I was experiencing. Some relationships and connections my brain and nose would make seemed really odd to me at the time but I accepted them for what they were. I trusted what my brain told me, that what I smell is what I smell, and keep the profile simple.

Aldehyde C14 seemed to score the paper, making it a part of itself and the impression I picked up. And finally after hanging out with this note for 5 days the scent has polluted the other two scent strips I am testing. Insane! This is a heads up for me that olfactive pollution does happen and scent molecules from one material can affect those around it. That’s why some of my aroma chemicals are in double zip-lock bags.

If you have any particular questions that you’d like answered please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear them!

See you on Friday!

MC

Lessons In Perfumery 9

lessons in perfumery 9


One of the things that I’m learning from developing other skills like drawing and painting, is how important it is to free myself from the need to be perfect to create something, anything, when what really matters is the truth that even a creation that sucks is better than not having created anything at all.  Those other arts help me do that.

It’s imperative to find a way to freedom from perfection because this need to put perfection before presence kills more dreams than any dictator ever has.

Sad really.

Of course I get it, many good perfumery materials are expensive and the typical amateur perfumer has a limited budget and feels a great need to not waste a single drop of juice and create something perfect the first go.

Laugh.

Even if success does happen right away, not an impossibility, what is more important is if we are able to reproduce that success. If we are not we’re screwed. Not only but perfection is in direct opposition to the terms beginner, or perfumer in training, student, apprentice, or amateur. We have effectively built ourselves a great prison of procrastination leaving it impossible to be what we are, absolute beginners. There will never be another time for us to be free to make mistakes as when we are beginners, and yet we hastily want to cash in those chips for perfection. We must be free. We must leave room for serious and frequent mess ups it’s the only way out and forward.

This is why being present is so important. For each one of us it will look like something different. For me it means, sitting down every day – typically in the winter this means starting a fire in a room that is 14° – of every week to do scent evaluations which gets me closer to the insights, the happy coincidences, the intuiting possible accords which in turn gets me closer to a scent that I like, that works, that’s in line with an original vision or plan.

There’s no way around it, plan to be present every day for your scent encounters and it will be like taking your vitamin C and eating lots of fruit during the winter time, it won’t immunise you from a cold or the flu, but it’s good insurance that you’ll get stuff done and move forward in your learning.

Have a wonderful week,

MC

Sweet Basil, essential oil

Musings on making scents with … Sweet Basil essential oil. I just could not pick up a trail on this one, again probably due to the cold in the room. Now it’s probably my lack of many years of trained smelling but to me this is a natural essential oil with the most linear dry down I’ve ever experienced! I mean this smells very much the same from opening to final dry out.

Common name … Basil, sweet, essential oil

Botanical name ... Ocimum basilicum

Supplier … White Lotus Aromatics

Note … Top/Heart

Family … Mint/Green

Diffusion … 5

Dilution … 10%

Blends well with … Bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, citronella, clary sage, coriander, geranium, hyssop, lavender, lime, marjoram, melissa, neroli, oak moss, orange, peppermint, rosemary ct. verbenone, sandalwood, spearmint, verbena, ylang ylang. Basil essential oil had a valuable modifying effect on green notes. (Eden Botanicals)

My nose … Sweet Basil starts off pungent and crisp, cool, clean, medicinal, light and a hint of oak moss (I know, weird, huh?). Then, in a total twist, after 15min I can pick up commonalities with lavender, dry and twig-like, with something floral now poking out. It’s still very sweet after 30min with a hint of mint. At 45min it’s now crisp and clean with a bit more body, not as flimsy and weak in the opening. 1hr after the opening there is a vague sense of the floral but it sort of fades into sobriety becoming serious and discreet, definitely less screechy, less shrill. It’s dry, woody with still a hint of the floral lingering and a bit of the coolness of lavender dangling from the shirt tails after 2hrs. Heading into the 3hr mark it begins to warm up, just a bit, yet remains sweet and candy-like with a daub of peppermint. There’s a soapy quality at 7hrs that’s quite surprising, and though the candy note is still noticeable it appears quite flat. 24hrs on and this note is very much like lavender, twiggy, dry, parched with a touch of sweetness and the medicinal, but still very much alive on the strip. I followed sweet Basil essential oil to 36hrs and it held onto that peppermint quality but the most surprising thing was how much warmer it had grown with time compared to the opening.

Well that’s it for this week. I’m not sure which three synthetics I’ll be evaluating next week because I want to surprise myself too.  I wish you a wonderful weekend.

Take good care,

MC

Beeswax Absolute

Musings on making scents with … Beeswax absolute. The room is mighty cold, less than 12 degrees in here (don’t ask!) so I’m pretty sure the note didn’t evaporate as it typically would; I’m a bit out of practice and the dilutions are a bit aged, not a bad thing because if this means they’ve gone “off” or “bad” it’s just one more exercise for my nose to learn about this scent. Remember, only your nose can tell you if something does or doesn’t smell right. If to your nose it smells like its gone bad then it has, the ultimate authority where it comes to smell is you.

Source: Alambica

Common name: Beeswax absolute

Botanical name: Cera Alba

Note: Heart/Base

Family: Gourmand/Balsamic. Sometimes I really struggle with putting notes into a specific family because there are those that could fit into more than one, or those that fit almost but not perfectly, such is the case with beeswax absolute. Let your nose be the judge.

Diffusion: 3

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Ambrette seed, Cassie, chamomile, champaca, clary sage, clove bud, coconut, fir balsam, galbanum, ginger, hay, helichrysum, jasmine, mandarine, mimosa, orange blossom, orris root, osmanthus, rose, tobacco, tonka bean, tuberose, vanilla, vetiver, ylang ylang. Beeswax absolute is useful in perfumes where similar notes occur (as a modifier). (Eden Botanicals)

My nose: Right off the bat this smells a bit “off”, could be this batch of dilution has expired, or it’s too cold in the room or quite simply I’m out of practice, but I persevere: this smells sweet, thick and round if I could give it a shape. After just 15min there’s a hint of tobacco, warm, dry and intimate with very little projection. 30min on and beeswax absolute is soft, warm, comforting and close. 45min now and the scent strip smells strong, pungent, more like honeycomb, sweet and uncomplicated. It’s 2hrs into the evolution of beeswax absolute and it’s drier, and much more reminiscent of tobacco than beeswax! 3hrs later what my mind keeps noticing about this note is how it dries down to a deep tobacco absolute smell, dry – like stepping onto a bed of autumn leaves. Does my nose pick up smoke? I can’t be sure as I did just throw another log on the fire. At the 7hr mark the scent strip is very dry with barely a hint of beeswax yet still very tobacco-like. 12hrs now and oddly enough what I’m picking up is a dry, somewhat alcoholic note similar to cognac. Still powerfully reminiscent of tobacco, parched and brittle. Good tenacity, it’s holding up really well in the dry down. Subtle and intimate. 24hrs and it’s still heavily recalling tobacco. I can smell aged honeycomb hidden in the recesses. It’s dry and calming to me, like a balm – yes, it’s like smelling honeycomb wax candles! I followed this note up to 36hrs and it remains warm, soft, tobacco-like and still is very alive on the strip.

I’m still working on my iPad so no “bells and whistles” till next week, just the facts. Feel free to share in the comments your experience working with beeswax absolute and what your brain picks up when you smell it.

Cheers!

MC

2016 A Year In Review

2016 A Year In Review

Where to begin?

Probably the biggest discovery is that it was the first year in decades that I hadn’t made any goals for myself – neither mentally nor written. Yikes! And as a result I was all over the map last year.

So what really happened in 2016? Here’s the overview in bullet points:

  • Brain Pickings – this has got to be the best site I was led to read. It’s written by the very talented Maria Popova who describes herself as a reader, writer, interestingness hunter-gatherer, and curious mind at large. I have learned so much in the few short months that I’ve subscribed and what she writes moves me to the point where I donate monthly because it is clearly written with love. The post that got me hooked on Brain Pickings is one where she wrote a review of the book How To Love by Thich Nhat Hanh and the quote is “…The most precious inheritance that parents can give their children is their own happiness.” I always feel that every minute reading her posts is time well spent, and that’s a rarity these days online.
  • Which leads me to one of the highlights of the year, that I became a grandmother! This put centre stage for me the importance of curating my own happiness to lighten not only my daughter’s life but that of my granddaughter. Her birth urged me to make my own happiness a serious priority not as a point of selfishness but of love.
  • I allowed things to fallow and go untended on purpose.
  • I moved the blog from a paid WordPress hosting back to the free WordPress platform. Breathing room. Less pressure.
  • I took a hard look at teaching ESL and am convinced this type of setting is not the right one for me but that I do love to teach and share. Doesn’t totally answer all my questions but it does shine some light. Clarity is a wonderful thing.
  • I invested in a load of new raw materials, mainly aroma chemicals, to add to my olfactive library.
  • I didn’t do as much blending as I wanted to do which is a bummer so I gave myself a challenge making it necessary to blend, a lot, faster…
  • I signed myself up for the town’s Christmas market and made my very first fragrances to sell and sold them! More on that in another post.

I figured I could either waste time flogging myself for time “wasted”, stagnant stats and traction lost (is anything ever lost?) or I could get back to writing about making scents and making sense of scents, my way. I opted for the latter.

If nothing else I learned that I am allowed to be human, make mistakes, not have all the answers and yes, bugger things up a bit every now and then.

I hope you join me Monday as I start off the week with an evaluation of Frankincense essential oil.

Cheers and love!

MC

A Vineyard Lies Fallow

A vineyard lies fallow

 

Fallow: adjective

The definition of fallow is inactive.

A piece of land that is normally used for farming but that is left with no crops on it for a season in order to let it recover its fertility is an example of land that would be described as fallow.

from yourdictionary.com

Back in the fall I passed by a family owned vineyard that had been left unattended all year. During our walks both my husband and I wondered what was going on. Then one day I saw them cutting the vines waaaay back! Of course I asked them why, and with deep sadness they shared that circumstances were making it impossible for them to take care of everything in their lives and the vineyard too so they had to let it go fallow not knowing when, if ever, they would have the opportunity to cultivate it again. And so there it remains, waiting. Not dead, or wounded, just waiting for the right time, the right mix of circumstances or people to bring it back to life. Such has been my personal journey in 2016 which of course included the blog.

It was a mistake for me to stop writing the blog for a year, man was I wrong about that. But life is full of mistakes. The question remained: now that I had the courage to admit I screwed up, what next?

It was the thinking of the doing that kept tripping me up!

There was endless hand-wringing, soul-struggling and fighing with myself in these past twelve months trying to decide first whether to kill the blog, then when I finally did, whether to start it up again, and once deciding, the agony was what to write, and what would my readers think of me, how would I be judged. That was probably the biggest obstacle I had to overcome before writing even one word on paper. This endless dialogue of course kept up the procrastination game. It felt necessary at first to offer a thousand apologies but in the end all I have to offer is myself and this me needed the time away to reflect on many things. In hindsight, sure it would have been better (read: less humiliating, fearful, embarasing, humbling) not to have declared I was ending the blog but there are never any clearly defined pathways to becoming our best self and so it seems I needed this “mistake” to kick me into a year of fallow which has allowed my vision to become clearer and new projects to become more fertile and the old ones I no longer needed to weaken and fall away.

So here I am. Back. Again. Perhaps even a bit wiser and kinder, especially to myself. I’ve discovered I’m allowed.

You’ll notice that the new image format is simpler. This affords me more time to focus on writing than spending untold hours in Photoshop and Illustrator. It was important to streamline the process if I was to keep the blog going. Beyond that I’ve kept things the same with the target of three posts a week, mostly focused on olfactive evaluations of my growing scent library of aroma chemicals, naturals and tinctures.

There are some exciting, new projects on the horizon to help you and me on our journey to becoming a perfumer, but I’ll share those in the right time. How could I not have new things to share as we are all in an ever expanding journey of self-discovery.

Not everything is perfect with the blog, I’m at odds with this last paragraph, for instance; the main images aren’t exactly on point but I kinda like them, this image for instance is not what I would have wanted, but at the end of the day these aren’t the important things. What is important is that I got this post out and have started back again. Yeah to that!

Thank you for sticking around it means a lot 🙂

MC

Aroma Profile: Sweet Orange 10 Fold

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Musings on making scents withsee the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

Common name: Sweet Orange 

Botanical name: Citrus sinensis

Supplier: Alambica

Note: Top/Heart

Family: Citrus

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10

Blends well with: see the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

Chemical components: see the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

Interesting bits: see the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

Their nose: see the post on Sweet Orange 5 Fold essential oil

My nose: At the first sniff my Sweet Orange 10 fold essential oil is more blunt than the 5 fold, not sharp at all, with the obvious citrus outlines, but barely though. This one is thick and deliberate, ponderous and even heavy. What a difference between the two folded oils! After 15min it’s now a lot warmer, thicker, where the 5 fold was thinner, still very identifiable as orange even if it seems to be only now waking up. 30min and it appears to be fading quickly — too quickly! I mean, it’s there but I am finding that I have to work hard to reach it. 45min now it’s a very, very sleepy orange. Still present but seems to have retreated somewhere inaccessible. At 1hr this is much, much softer than the 5 fold. It’s plush, lush, citrus and the orange-ness seems to be lagging behind, yet is quite comforting and warm which I find odd for a citrus. 2hrs later and it’s growing harder and harder to discern this scent! It appears more nebulous, almost gone, very understated and smells more like mandarin to my nose than orange at this point. At 3hrs it’s just about gone, there’s not much left but a delicate roundness too that remains like an aura. 7hrs now, just a very thin whispery layer left, I almost can’t sense it. The 12hr mark and strangely enough this is still around, but just a hint, a mere flutter or just my imagination? After 24hrs on a very deep inhale what I get is a sense of that round, sweet, softness before it disappears.

12/24 comparison: The 24hr strip is warm, soft and sweet still, even if all you get is a very short moment with it and then it’s gone. The 12hr strip is very much the same impression only it lasts for longer. But, it really is strange that a citrus is able to hang around for 12hrs and beyond.

I’m a bit late posting today, life happening is all :). One long To-Do list and I was only able to get about 3 things done, oh well. Have a great Wednesday and Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!

MC


Aroma Profile: Sweet Orange 5 Fold

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Musings on making scents with Sweet Orange essential oil 5 fold … I’m doing this profile while on holidays at my daughter’s place and it’s a first for me so I’m wondering how differently, if at all, the nose will react to a change in setting. In my studio I’m more sure of things, of myself, (well, at least I pretend to be :)) but here as I look around at unfamiliar objects and do feel a bit uncertain. This is interesting to note and be aware of…

Common name: Sweet Orange

Botanical name: Citrus sinensis

Supplier: Alambica

Note: Top/Heart

Family: Citrus

Diffusion: 7

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: cinnamon, coriander, clove, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, bergamot, myrrh, sandalwood, nutmeg, mandarin, tangerine, nerolidol, petitgrain.

Chemical components: Limonene gives citrus fruit their familiar aroma (Wikipedia); limonene (up to 97%!), a-pinene, sabinene, b-pinene, myrcene, octanol, linalool, delta-3-carene, decanal.

Interesting bits: First of all what is a folded oil? What I found out is that the folded essential oils are more concentrated and have a richer, more intense aroma than the oils produced through simple expression. Think croissant pastry dough how it gets gently folded many, many times into itself to produce that fluffy quality. 

Folded essential oils are those that have been further distilled and concentrated to create a more concentrated, and usually stronger smelling, essential oil. The oils should have a longer shelf life because some of the terpenes that contribute to oxidation of the oil have been removed, and they should be safer to use in leave in products thanks to the removal of those same terpenes. (Point Of Interest)

“A “folded” essential oil is an essential oil that has been further distilled and concentrated from its already highly concentrated form. Citrus oils (like orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime, tangerine, blood-orange, mandarin, and bergamot) are the most commonly found in “folded” versions, and the most common “folds” are 5-fold and 10-fold.” (About Home)

Orange is a citrus fruit and a hybrid between pomelo and mandarin….Even though oranges remind us of distant tropical islands and exotic rainy forests, the sweet orange doesn’t occur in the wild. This hybrid species had been first cultivated in southern China and Europeans became acquainted with it in the 11th century, and used it widely for medical purposes. Italian traders have spread the seed to the Mediterranean area in mid 15th century, and since then the sweet orange has rapidly spread all around the globe, being quickly adopted as a delicious juicy fruit. The sailors from the Old Continent planted Oranges along their trade routes to prevent scurvy – same as the pirates of the Caribbean used lemon and rum, to make their favorite alcoholic beverage (and a natural remedy) called Grog. People of the freshly discovered Americas have introduced rum to the old Europe, while Europeans (Christopher Columbus himself!) brought the seeds of oranges, lemons and citrons to the Caribbean….one of the most commonly used aromatic ingredients in perfume industry, especially in floral and Cologne type fragrances….There are many different variants of orange and each of them possesses different olfactory properties. Bitter Orange, Blood Orange, Orange Blossoms and Mandarin Orange are most commonly found in fragrant compositions. Orange blossom and neroli are extracted from the flowers of the bitter orange tree (also known as Sevile orange or Citrus aurantium). The only difference between them is that orange blossom is extracted using the volatile solvents, while neroli is steam-distilled. Neroli has a wonderful and heady refreshing but spicy floral aroma, which makes it a great addition to all kinds of floral compositions, eau de colognes and skin-care products. Another derivate from bitter orange is the bitter orange oil that has a distinctive citrusy aroma placed somewhere in the middle of sweet orange and bitter grape. The leaves of bitter orange, as well as the flower buds, are steam-distilled to produce petitgrain, an essential oil that has a greenish woody orange scent. (Fragrantica)

Their nose: a delicious sweet, fruity, fresh and tangy smell (Fragrantica)

 … full bodied and has a deliciously sugary sweet, orange heart note. (Hermitage Oils UK)

My nose: from the opening sweet orange 5 fold fans out immediately with a sweet smell, almost like mandarins! Sharp, orangey, rind, yet plush. 15min and it’s still very sharp, tangy, pungent, rind odour, although I have to lean in a lot closer to get at it. 30min later the smell is nice and bright and alive on the strip. It seems to be leaping out at you. Now fresh and citrusy, succulent even. At 45min it’s still alive and awake on the strip, smelling more like the peel now, thin, but still orange. 1hr later and sweet orange 5 fold essential oil remains a very citrusy orange, the projection is less but still very noticeable although a bit more bare bones. After 2hrs on the strip it is very orange-y, now more luxurious, smooth, less bracing and splashy than in the beginning. 3hrs and wow, this is still hanging around! Very much an orange odour, it has a nice hold and this layer is drier, but still appears whole and intact, definitely not disintegrating as I assumed it would. 7hrs later and it is a lot greener, thinner, delicate and yes, still orange. 12hrs on and sweet orange 5 fold essential oil is now much more worn out but one can still make it out. I’m quite amazed it’s still present. Smells dry and satisfying, comforting too. The final evaluation at 24hrs and on the strip this still has a life of its own, but much softer and sweeter somehow, drier and more brittle.

12/24 comparison: The 12hr strip is more noticeable and in a direct comparison the 24hr one seems nonexistent, which begs the question: did I imagine it?!

Wishing you all a wonderful beginning to your summer and remember your sunscreen!

MC

Aroma Profile: Nootka Tree

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Musings on making scents with Nootka Tree essential oil… gotta admit, I bought this one out of pure curiosity but am not at all disappointed. What I learned is that Nootka tree essential oil isn’t really a true cypress, read on to see what I mean.  This note threw me a few aromatic curve balls which I still haven’t quite grasped. While writing this and sniffing anew I tried to pick up what those errant aspects were, but I suspect only time and experience will reveal them to me. No longer frustrated, I’m quite okay with leaving it a mystery till then.

Common name(s): Nootka Tree essential oil, Alaska cypress, Yellow cedarwood

Botanical name: Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

Supplier: Hermitage Oils UK

Note: Heart-Base

Family: Woody

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: patchouli, vetiver, fir, grapefruit, bergamot, cardamom, juniper, labdanum, lavender, mandarin, orange, pine, etc.

Chemical components: Nootka essential oil is rich in sesquiterpenes. The main components are valencene 15%, nootkatone 2%, nootkatene 57%, carvacrol 6%  

Interesting bits: Nootka is a majestic conifer that grows in British Columbia and Alaska. The tree is of great importance to the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest who use it for many of their carvings. In fact, it’s from the Nootka Tribe that the Nootka Tree gets its name. And curiously enough, it’s from the Nootka Tree that Nootkatone (the grapefruit ingredient) gets its name. (North West Aromatics)

There are many other species of cypress used to produce an essential oil; however, C. sempervirens is considered superior (Lawless 1992). Other Cypresses. Those trees referred to as cypress that are not true cypresses include the Port Orford white cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana); the Nootka sound cypress or Alaska cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatesis); and the bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), famous for its southeastern U.S. swamp growths. Frequently used in landscape plantings, the Leyland cypress is a hybrid of the Nootka and Monterey (Coombes 1992). (Agora)

Their nose: Warm woody with a sandalwood top note. Leathery and smoky with patchouli and vetiver notes. Aromatic. (North West Aromatics)

Fresh, dry, precious woods bouquet with a powdery resinous undertone (White Lotus Aromatics)

Woody, spicy, cedarwood, leathery, minty, cumin, thyme (Hermitage Oils UK)

Spicy, smoky, juniper and pine-like aroma (Agora)

It smells like a quieter cedar wood oil (commenter on Basenotes)

My nose: Nootka tree essential oil opens with a definite pencil shavings effect. Pungent — no, blunt edged, it doesn’t reach out to you but remains held in check somehow, reserved and on the aloof side (must be its majestic origins). Then 15min later I get thin, scrawny, hint of gasoline/fuel. How weird is that?! At any rate, 30min later there is a sharp, thin, rough smell that reminds me of work. A gust of wind growls and I am sent memories of school days in childhood, and old pencil sharpeners, the ones you had to get up to to use because they were nailed to the wall! 45min now it’s austere, thin yet radiant, candid, it is what is, it hints at unpretentious, simple roots. 1hr into the journey and on a thin wispy layer of terpene, I am in the middle of dusk, though the note still has zip and exuberance. It gives you the feeling of being spirited away at any moment. Nookta tree is still sharp and pungent after 2hrs, but it’s stripped bare now, very singular in expression. 3hrs finds the note to be strident, shrill and me astounded that it’s still so insistent! Dry, bracing, peppery quality, too. 8hrs takes me into base note territory and holy mackerel this note has gone all dark, moody and enigmatic! Brooding…what?! Yes, there is something else hiding behind the obvious…but what is it?! I have to let it go, frustrated though it makes me and move on. 12hrs later there is only a slight pencil shavings facet but something else is affecting the overall impression…dry, pungent, thin, crisp, yet warm. At the 24hr mark there is a weird off note happening and the pencil shavings thing is still there! 

12/24 comparison: Very pungent, very much like pencil shavings at 12hrs. Dry, cracked, brittle — this is mainly what comes through for me. Somewhere between this and 24hrs there’s an off note that presents itself, something akin to gasoline.

That’s all for now, my nose is pooped, needs a rest, so the weekend is a welcome pause. See you Monday!

In-joy,

MC


Aroma Profile: Cypress essential oil

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Musings on making scents with cypress essential oil… yikes! I have two and I can identify the supplier of one but not the other. I think it’s one of the first I started to purchase about 3 years ago from a herbal shop here in town. After doing a full profile on this oil my curiosity has been roused and I’m going to order some Cypress absolute asap. My process is to do a full profile and a few days later write up the post; then as I’m writing I like to revisit it from a fresh point of “view” with the aroma of the note touching me every once in a while just to see what else my nose picks up without trying. This time around my main impression of Cypress essential oil is fresh, and I can pick out a citrus facet that I didn’t the first time!

Common name: Cypress

Botanical name: lat. Cupressus sempervirens (cupressaceae family)

Supplier: Essential Oil University

Note: Heart

Family: Woody/Mossy (and I would add Green)

Diffusion: 6

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: benzoin, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile, most citrus oils, clary sage, ginger, lavender, ylang ylang, agarwood, ambrette seed, cypriol, cinnamon, choya nah, choya loban, choya ral, frankincense, sandalwood, poplar bud, rose, tonka, *vetiver, labdanum, juniper, bergamot, petitgrain — this, just to name a few!

Chemical components: a-pinene, camphene, sabinene, b-pinene, d-3-carene, myrcene, a-terpinene, terpinolene, linalool, bornyl acetate, cedrol and cadinene. (Esoteric Oils)

Monoterpenes: approximately 40-50 % of alpha-pinene, 15-20 % of delta-3-carene and up to 2 % of the sesquiterpenol cedrol, contributing to its aromatic profile. The Spanish oils from Catalonia have a similar odour profile to the French cypress oils as their higher cedrol content gives a woodier character to their fragrance. Oils from Murcia are lower in cedrol and therefore more terpenic or pine-like. (Scentcillo)

Interesting bits: Cypress is a name that relates to the plants of the cypress family Cupressaceae, growing in the temperate regions of the world. This is a very ancient family of trees that grew more than 200 million years ago on the supercontinent Pangaea. Today, Cypresses are found on all continents except Antarctica. (Fragrantica)

Regions of cultivation include the South of France, Catalonia and the Murcia region of Spain, Morocco and Corsica; the crop period lasting from December to February. Harvesting of the sprouts and young branches from the tree tops occurs initially approximately 5 years after planting, allowing regeneration of the plant and continuing annually during its long lifespan. Roughly 70-80 kg of foliage and branches will yield 1kg of cypress essential oil. In perfumery cypress is utilised in chypres, fougeres, amber accords and colognes. Like cedarwood Atlas, its virile character makes cypress a popular choice in men’s fragrances. (Scentcillo)

Their nose: From my reading, it seems that cypress wood has a pungent, woody, spicy aroma that can also be sometimes resinous, coniferous, or cedar-like. (Kafkaeque Blog)

The aroma of cypress can be described as fresh, lingering, pine-like, resinous, slightly smoky with a sweet, balsamic undertone. The scent is very evocative of a forest setting, bestowing a soothing and refreshing ambience. It acts as a top to middle note and equaliser in a composition, adding harmony and smoothing out rough edges in a blend. (Scentcillo)

My nose: cypress essential oil opens clean, clear, cool, crisp and light. Outdoors, piney, pungent, bracing, like plunging your hot, aching feet into a cool stream after a long mountain hike. At 15min now it’s much thinner, piercing, very green and all I get is this overwhelming impression of the great outdoors, wild and untamed. Clean. 30min and what I get is a bit more naked, bare, more razor sharp, also it’s less urgent, more settled, anchored so to speak. 45min leads me to a thin, sparse, clear, solitary note that is also awake, bright, alive and bracing! Imagine a 4 year old jumping on your bed at 06:30 shouting “mamma get up! mamma can you make me breakfast?!” as they twirl and bounce this way and that (and, no, you are not allowed to strangle them). After 1hr cypress is softer, more tangy, which is odd! It seems to be peeking through the openings like the sun would through a mighty cypress bough caught by a stray gust of wind. It’s drier now, too and somewhat “piccante” (I guess that’s why it could be a good partner with black pepper). 2hrs later and this is getting much more one dimensional, which is a bit disappointing, basic, coniferous, piney, woody, smell that is sharp, clear and up-lifting. Into the heart note now at 3hrs and it’s beginning to disperse, growing much more intangible and ephemeral by the minute. The impression is woody and slightly resinous. 8hrs on it’s much softer, bare and barely there, thin, woody, yes, but also I am stunned by how absolutely beautiful it is now! It takes that long to come into its own. After 12hrs cypress essential oil is dry, crisp, cool and beginning to smell a tad medicinal now. I get aromatherapy — nothing wrong with that only it’s a bit lack-lustre. A full 24hrs later reveals a pale dry, brittle, thin note that is still discernible as cypress. It leaves a nice trail which isn’t at all unpleasant.

12/24 comparison: the 12hr cypress is still strong, of course, you definitely know it’s cypress, and there is a distinct edge to it. Whereas the 24hr strip barely has a hint, but it’s there, clinging to the rocky cliffs of my olfactive landscape.

Wishing you a wonder-filled Wednesday!

MC


Aroma Profile: Nerol

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Common name(s): Nerol

Chemical name: (2Z)-3,7-dimethylocta-2,6-dien-1-ol

CAS #: 106-25-2

Supplier: Hermitage Oils UK

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 4

Dilution: 10

Blends well with: beeswax abs., benzyl alcohol, bergamot, blood orange oil, bois de rose, cassis bud, citral, citronellol, clary sage, ethyl phenyl acetate, flouve, gardenia concrete, geraniol, guaiacwood oil, immortelle, jonquil abs., leerall, linalool, mace oil, mimosa, neroli C02, nerolidol, sweet and bitter orange oil, peony alcohol, ylang ylang, violet leaf abs., etc. (TGSC)

Interesting bits: Nerol is the cis isomer: notice the similarity with Geraniol, which is the trans isomer of the same molecule. Occurs naturally in a vast range of flower scents as well as being present in fruit, herb and spice essential oils from artemisia to ylang ylang, via lavender and, of course, neroli. (Hermitage Oils UK)

…a monoterpene found in many essential oils such as lemongrass and hops. It was originally isolated from neroli oil, hence its name. This colourless liquid is used in perfumery. Like geraniol, nerol has a sweet rose odor but it is considered to be fresher. (Wikipedia)

Their nose: Floral, sweet, natural, neroli, citrus, magnolia. It is used in all types of fragrances especially rose accords and with other florals. (Hermitage Oils UK)

“rosy, refreshing and “wet” seashore odor of moderate tenacity. Dry notes vary with purity of material. A very pure Nerol will normally have more emphasis on the “fresh seashore” odor and less of the rosy notes, while products with high Geraniol content conceal their “maritime” notes in favor of the deep-rosy tones…This alcohol is widely and frequently used in perfumery, but not nearly in the volumes of Geraniol and Citronellol. It lends a fresh- ness to a rose base which cannot be obtained with the two other alcohols. But it also finds use in a variety of sweet-floral fragrance types Mimosa, Magnolia, Lilac, Neroli, Alpine, Violet, Jasmin, etc. or in Citrus colognes, Muguet, Orchid, etc. its effect is perceptible often at one or two percent in the composition. ” (Steffen Arctander)

Fresh, citrus, floral, green, sweet, lemon/lime and waxy with a spicy depth. (TGSC)

Despite the fact it was found in neroli essential oil nerol doesn’t have the characteristic neroli smell. Instead its scent reminds of fresh sweet roses. (Chemist In The Bottle)

My nose: Nerol opens barely noticeable at all, like rubbing alcohol, very subtle, floral, dry and ponderous. In 15min not much movement because it’s still barely there, soft, thick and almost juicy. Serene, and the smell is truly a simple pleasure and still somewhat fruity. 30min brings us to a peculiar quality of stillness that is captivating – that is when and if you are able to capture a whole impression like this because it is fugitive. It’s fluid and graceful, flushed too, like a young person blushing. After 45min Nerol now becomes warm, intriguing and intimate, drawing you in instead of fanning out to reach you. 1hr and there it is, that fruity, juicy vibe. Sure there’s the obvious floral tone but there is deninitely a layer of juiciness, of fruit that lingers on the branch because it’s just not ripe enough yet to let go. What you get at 2hrs is the impression that while it is still present it’s very much a background, supportive note, so it doesn’t scream, it murmurs. Now it’s all plump and plumes, airy, soft and round. Oddly though, at 3hrs this note is becoming more evident. There is a persuasive quality that lingers on the surface, leaving a definite impression. 7hrs and its fruity still but now a wonderful, harmonious mix of florals. This dies down to a smell not unlike my watercolour paper made of 100% cotton. Nice. 12hrs into the dry down and Nerol is beautiful still, warmer, more floral, rounder, more body, less skin and bones than in the beginning. It’s all grown up now. The final 24hr evaluation reveals a complete turnaround: what once started out as something to barely consider has turned out to be the belle of the ball! Long lasting, floral goodness and quite reliable, linear throughout. A total surprise.

Have fun mixing!

MC