Aroma Profile: Cis Jasmone


Common name(s): Cis Jasmone

Chemical name: 3-methyl-2-[(Z)-pent-2-enyl]cyclopent-2-en-1-one

CAS #: 488-10-8

Supplier: Hermitage Oils UK

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: amyris, benzyl benzoate, bergamot, benzyl salicylate, cardamom abs., carrot seed, celery, cistus, clove bud, black currant bud abs., alpha and beta damascone, geraniol, geranyl acetate, jasmine abs., lavender abs., mimosa, nerol, nerolidol, neryl acetate, orris, petitgrain, raspberry ketone, tuberose, veramoss, ylang ylang, etc. (TGSC)

Interesting bits: Although it’s quite an expensive material compared to some of the other jasmine-like florals it has a large effect at low doses and is particularly helpful for improving diffusion and radiance in floral compositions that can be over-heavy, such as Tuberose. Occurs naturally in a range of flower scents as well as being present in bergamot, mint and other essential oils. (Hermitage Oils UK)

Very often hedione or cis-jasmone (which has an almost anise or liquorice smell by itself) is used to render the illusion of smelling a live jasmine vine. (Perfume Shrine)

Their nose: woody, herbal, floral, spicy, jasmine, celery, with a citrus nuance (TGSC)

Floral, green, jasmine, warm with distinct woody aspects as well a subtle minty quality…(Hermitage Oils UK)

Diffusive, warm-spicy, somewhat fruity, but in dilution more floral odor of good tenacity. Its beauty is truly demonstrated in dilutions below one percent, or in modest amounts in a perfume composition. The pure material has notes reminiscent of Celery seed, some find it “’bread-like”, others find it ““fruity”,“waxy” etc. Evaluation of a powerful odorant should be undertaken by proper dilution of the material so that nuances can be studied with- out the inconveniences of odor fatigue…Traces, often mere fractions of one percent, in a perfume oil may introduce just that wanted warmth and deep floral note almost unobtainable with other chemicals. (Steffen Arctander)

My nose: Cis Jasmone opens floral, with plumes of flower essences rising to greet me, petals, somewhat thin and refined. After 15min this note totally opens up like a blossom, fully floral now. Very sophisticated, delicate but with a hint of something “bad” yet beautiful at the same time (does that even make sense?). 30min on this is now fresh, airy, still floral and pristine. It is totally summery and carefree, also radiant and I can see how it could add lift to an overall composition. At 45min it’s morphed into something cool, crisp and floral, no longer warm. It’s still radiant and deeply satisfying. Cis jasmone is feminine but not in an overt way. Now after 1hr, the tail end of the top note, it remains crisp and exhilarating, candid with a touch of floral minimalism. 2hrs it’s sweeter, with a bit of a mint effect! Cleansing, luminous, and yes, the olfactive temperature remains cool. 3hrs into the dry down and it remains clean, crisp, clear and still floral beneath the surface. This is a tenacious note with a really nice hold. After 7hrs it begins to thin out and seems to have filled out or plumped up and gotten a bit fruitier. At the 12hr mark now there is a hint of cumin??? More than exiting it seems to be decaying. Then finally at 24hrs it finishes up in spice-land, that cumin thing is still there, though the whole effect is drying and less discernible.  

This was a really nice synthetic to take for a test drive but I’m really looking forward to using it in a composition — that’s where I think I’ll have some serious fun!

Have a wonderful Monday!



Aroma Profile: Angelica Root CO2


It always surprises me when I perform a profile, then days or weeks later sit to write about it only to find loads of references to an aspect in the material that I thought was wild, way out there and next to impossible to link it to. So it was with Angelica root CO2 and the lime aspect I picked up while profiling this beauty. I thought I was going crazy! How could that be? Lime in Angelica root, nah! But low and behold I found at least three online sources that referred to a lime note in there descriptions. Whenever this happens I find it strengthens my own personal olfactory confidence and that’s cool.

Common name(s): Angelica root, Root of the Holy Ghost, Angel Root

Botanical name: Angelica archangelica

Supplier: Eden Botanicals

Note: Heart/Base

Family: Green

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Angelica blends well with patchouli, clary sage, vetiver and citrus oils, especially lime. (Aura Cacia)

Bergamot, petitgrain, clary sage, vetiver, orange, juniper, cedarwood, galbanum, ambroxan, ambrette seed oil, amyris, mimosa absolute, orris absolute, nerolidol, iso-amyl salicylate etc.

Chemical components: terpenes, pinene, limonene and phellandrene, serveral coumarins including bergaptene, phellandrene, linalool,borneoli, lactones, etc. 

Interesting bits: The whole Angelica plant is aromatic, but only the root and seeds are used to make angelica root essential oil. (Gritman)

Angelica archangelica is a large, aromatic plant related to parsley and carrots. The essential oil is steam distilled from the rhizome. A rhizome is an underground stem-like structure from which above ground stems arise and roots descend. Angelica rhizomes contain up to 1% essential oil with a rich, peppery-sweet, musk-like aroma. Angelica root oil is highly synergistic so it’s valued in perfumery for its ability to impart distinctive nuances to a wide variety of perfume types from spicy florals to deep, woody masculine scents. (Aura Cacia)

Angelica archangelica grows wild in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, mostly in the northern parts of the countries. It is cultivated in France, mainly in the Marais Poitevin, a marsh region close to Niort in the départment Deux-Sèvres. It also grows in certain regions in Germany like the Harz mountains, and in certain regions of Romania, like the Rodna Mountains, and some South East Asian countries like Thailand. (Wikipedia)

Their nose: Our Angelica Root CO2 select extract has a very fine, delicate aroma, yet it is extremely tenacious – a little goes a long way (Eden Botanicals)

Musky, earthy, peppery, woody, herbaceous, spicy (Floracopeia)

My nose: The first 15min of Angelica root CO2opens soft, green, light, whimsical, pungent, dry and the projection is low. It’s a bit hard for me to describe at first; I really had to dig into my olfactory bank to find a match with those first few words. After 30min it smells akin to very dry paint, old paint when it’s dried like either on a wall or a paint brush. Do I smell lime? Could it be I get that impression or is it really that green lime aspect? 45min and it still smells like dry paint, but now more earthy, clean, clear, sharp, dry wood and somehow tenuous and feeble at the same time. How can naturals do that?! Be one thing and the other all at the same instant? 1hr now and the note remains green – not a wet, mossy, green but a dry, dusty green. It’s oddly rugged and jagged in texture. After 2hrs this Angelica root is still dry with a hint of sweetness, smooth, serene, always this hint of lime that is underscoring the whole. 3hrs later the green aspect is now sharp, dry and brittle even brisk, with a hint of something citrusy. Pleasant and still alive on the strip. The 7hr layer, which for me marks the heart of the base notes, is still dry, but sweetish, soft and pleasant with just a touch of a delicate, powdery quality. 12hrs later what was once a jagged, rugged texture is now grainy and weather-beaten, but the whole thing is a mere whisper now. 24hrs and what remains is a sweet, powdery, dry, lovely presence. It’s a bit warmer now but not by much. Angelica. I understand why it’s called this now.

12/24 comparison: The 12/24 comparison reveals a stronger, sharper, quality with bite in the 12hr strip. It has a lot of rough edges. The dry quality is much more apparent here than in the 24hr strip where the rough edge qualities have all been smoothed out, filed down, leaving only a cool, sweet, hush.

Angelica root is one of those materials that I never would have considered before profiling it but, now that I have, I can’t wait for a chance to use it in a few of my accords. I hope you liked exploring it with me.

Wishing you a wonder-filled rest of the week!


Aroma Profile: Ambrette Seed tincture


The Ambrette seed tincture I made about 18 months ago, is lighter in nature than the CO2, and presents itself as something I see myself using more in and Eau Fraiche, a cologne or an EdT. Light, summery and not as invasive as the CO2. But somehow I think my sample has gone bad, so I’ll have to re-tincture this one in the late summer when all the family hoopla dies down. In the meanwhile though, here’s an overview of my impression of this tincture:

Common name: Ambrette Seed (tincture)

Botanical name: Abelmoschus moschatus (tincture)

Supplier: got the seeds from Hekserij and tinctured them myself.

Note: Base

Family: Musky

Diffusion: 10%

Dilution: 3

Blends well with: Bergamot, black spruce, carrot seed, cedarwood, champaca, cistus, clary sage, coriander, cypress, frankincense, geranium, labdanum, lavandin, lavender, neroli, oakmoss, orange blossom, patchouli, rose, orris root, rosemary, sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver… (TGSC)

Chemical components: (EE)-farnesyl acetate(oily/waxy), nerolidol (floral/green/waxy/citrus/woody), farnesol, ambrettolide, dodecanol, among others.

Interesting bits: see my previous post on Ambrette Seed CO2

Their nose: see my previous post on Ambrette Seed CO2

My nose: The opening of the Ambrette seed tincture is soft, coolish in temperature and the projection is very low. Do I smell coconut oil? After 15min I’m thinking maybe the tincture has gone “off”, is past it’s best-before-date, because it smells a bit rancid; it’s fading fast and it’s very dry. 30min later and it’s almost gone. What is going on?! It’s a sharp note, also the coconut is once again present, rancidity is gone though. After 45min I can barely smell it, or detect it, it’s dry. 1hr and it’s soft, hushed, yes, still get that rancid effect (so apparently it does random disappearing and appearing acts), still on the strip but now more feeble impression; parched. 2hrs now and hmmm, yes, the effect remains on the strip which I find incredible for a tincture, very weak, yes, but there it’s there in a very natural way. At 3hrs it’s still alive on the strip and I can get a dry, greenish impression from it. 7hrs on and my Ambrette seed tincture is almost gone, just a memory almost, dry, but only a hint remains on paper. 12hrs now I’m able to get one sniff then the whole thing crumbles like a house of cards. I let it go. I don’t even attempt to struggle. After a whole 24hrs passes the strip is strangely still haunted by the tincture. There is an odd sweetness to the note that wasn’t there in the first 15 minutes. The dry impression is now secondary, oddly enough.

12/24 comparison: In a direct comparison the 12hr strip has a distinct rancid, coconut smell thing going. It’s dry and less pleasant smelling. While the 24hr strip’s olfactive impression almost disappears completely.

P.S. School will be out from Thursday for a whole week for Easter holidays and I can’t wait for a week off! Planning on doing some serious studying, more aromatic profiles and there will be some time (three days to be exact) for a very quick escape to see the beautiful town of Siena, Tuscany, yeah! Smooshed in there sandwich style will be some time with my daughter and her fiancé and finally some house cleaning, ’cause that never ends!

For this Wednesday I plan to get out a profile of a lovely Angelica Root CO2 that I purchased in December from Eden Botanicals, so stay tuned.

Wishing you a wonderful start to your week!


Aroma Profile: Ambrette Seed CO2


When I muse on making scents with Ambrette seed I have to be honest and say it’s not the first material that comes to mind or that I reach for instinctively when constructing a scent. I have to stretch and force myself to include it as an option, it’s like a blind spot for me, but that’s how I am with most musks. Musks are my blind spot simply because I just don’t have an affinity for them, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to allow that to limit my range of olfactive expression. What I do find interesting is that I pick up on similarities between this and Cognac which suggests that they could go well together.

Common name: Ambrette seed

Botanical name: Abelmoschus moschatus

Supplier: Eden Botanicals

Note: Base

Family: Musk

Diffusion: 3/4

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Bergamot, black spruce, carrot seed, cedarwood, champaca, cistus, clary sage, coriander, cypress, frankincense, geranium, labdanum, lavandin, lavender, neroli, oakmoss, orange blossom, patchouli, rose, orris root, rosemary, sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver… (TGSC)

Ambers, citrus, florals, and your imagination.

Agarwood, lapsang souchong, osmanthus, birch tar, clove bud, ylang ylang, angelica root, angelica seed…(White Lotus Aromtics)

Chemical components: (EE)-farnesyl acetate(oily/waxy), nerolidol (floral/green/waxy/citrus/woody), farnesol, ambrettolide, dodecanol, among others.

Interesting bits: In perfumery applications, Ambrette Seed is an excellent fixative with an exalting effect – in other words, it has a unique way of lifting or enhancing the quality of a perfume. It also provides the botanical version of the musk aroma so highly prized in natural/botanical perfumery – a much safer choice compared to synthetic musks for use in perfume formulas. Its sensual aroma is considered by many to be a compelling aphrodisiac. A little Ambrette Seed CO2 goes a long way and very little is needed in base accords to achieve the desired effect. Excellent fixative. (Eden Botanicals)

…it is very rich in ambrettolide, which smells like what we learned to identify as “white musk” – clean, sweet, slightly floral or even soapy, and with berry undertones as well. (Smellyblog)

Their nose: with an initial aroma that is bright, intense, nutty and musky-floral, rounded with nuances of cognac, clary sage, and tobacco notes, underscored by the subtle, sensual character of leather and animalic notes all through the drydown. (Eden Botanicals)

My nose: I am greeted by a very soft, warm note in the beginning. The projection begins low. Coconut aspect, less pronounced than I imagined, dry, somewhat sharp impression, animalic, skin and bones is the visceral impression. At 15min it’s dry, unassuming, quiet, tranquil. This lays low in the background, it’s soft and arid. 30min on and it’s dry like paper, brittle, crisp air, natural, smells like a smell of outside in nature, very restrained. 45min now it has a stronger projection, soft, not as cool as before, dry, dusty, like being in a desert. After 1hr I can only describe it as dry, parched, pale, and musky a bit. After 2hrs it’s still very dry, this a very quiet note, bare, stripped of unnecessary things, it’s a practical scent. 3hrs later we’re into the heart of Ambrette seed CO2 and the impression is somewhat lactonic, still dry, still arid, with a slight fading beginning now. Soft and powdery, too. 7hrs and wow, it’s so alive on the strip with a piercing, green smell, and still dry. Now at 12hrs it’s almost gone, but soft, sharper somehow, green and a bit musky. In the final 24hr profile I get sharp, dry, green, musky with a very good grip on the strip. So yes, I can see how this would have merit as a fixative.

12/24 comparison: When I compare the two strips side by side from the 12hr strip I get dry, paper quality, the green impression comes after this. It’s not that much more alive than the 24hr strip which is odd, logic tells me this should be much more perceptible than the other but it’s not.  From the 24hr strip I get one sniff, one last chance to catch and impression and then it’s gone and that is: dry and green.

Up next on Friday is my Ambrette seed tincture. Enjoy your Wednesday!


Aroma Profile: Ethyl Linalool


Common name(s): Ethyl Linalool

Chemical name: (6E)-3,7-dimethylnona-1,6-dien-3-ol

CAS #: 10339-55-6

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Top

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 6+

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Amyris, iso amyl salicylate, benzyl alcohol, bergamot, green cognac, decanol, galbanum, geraniol, heliotropin, immortelle, labdanum, leerall, litsea cubeba, nutmeg, santall, tonka bean absolute, raspberry ketone, ylang ylang, violet leaf absolute, patchouli, oakmoss, etc. (TGSC)

Their nose: Floral, oily, slight woody, green, soft odor, has a floral, fresh, bergamot character and is sweeter and less agrestic than Linalool. As with Linalool, it is used in a wide variety of notes for floral bouquets (Perfumer’s Apprentice)

Fresh, bois de rose, herbal, wet, green, lavender, bergamot (TGSC)

Fresh floral, herbal, rosewood, petitgrain: this has many similarities with the more widely used linalool, though this one has not yet been found in nature. (Hermitage Oils)

“Floral, only slightly woody-green, soft odor of moderate tenacity. The odor type compared to Linalool indicates that ‘Ethyl Iinalool’ is softer, more waxy, less volatile, less woody-green and overall more floral. It is more Coriander-like, less Bois-de-Rose-like. This alcohol has been suggested for use in perfume compositions as a modifier for Linalool with certain advantages over that material. Ethyl linalool has a somewhat slower rate of evaporation and is easier to work with, needs only normal fixation, and blends with more materials. It introduces softer, more floral-woody, less citrusy notes, according to the composition in which it is used. Along with Ethyl linalyl acetate, it forms a pleasant Bergamot-type background note even in soap perfumes, a combination which is more stable than Bergamot oil itself. The alcohol is also an interesting item in Muguet, Lilac, Lily, Appleblossom, etc. as well as in fantasy creations.” (Steffen Arctander)

My nose: Ethyl linalool opens sharp, a bit lavender, sweet, round, happy, simple scent, summery and light. 15min and I find myself really liking this note! It rises above the other three I’m profiling at the moment. Yes, lavender, woody, twiggy, pristine and clean. The 30min mark displays a sharper lavender impression, bright and sunny and alive, like a really cold glass of water on a hot day – quenching, that’s what it is. 45min later Ethyl linalool is dry, summery, bright, laundry hanging out on the line, candid and luminous. After 1hr this is simply a very joyful scent for me! Gleeful, happy, bouncy, radiant and transparent. 2hrs and now we’re just into the heart note and it’s beginning to fade, it seems more parched now, the lavender glow is still there and it’s just as herbaceous and pleasant. 3hrs now and it’s definitely dry, lavender – weaker, but it is alive on the strip. After 7hrs it’s just about over but makes an impression nonetheless. It’s now very dry, very faint and the lavender effect is still the one that remains. 24hrs later and it’s just a very thin layer, nothing more, but I just can’t call it over…

And there you have it, my impressions about Ethyl Linalool. I can totally see myself using this in a summer floral that I’m inspired to try just as soon as I can get into the lab full-time after teaching in June. Until then, I will remain inspired and allow the scents to pacify my impatience just by being around their aroma. Yes, I am grateful.

Wising you a most beautiful start to this first week of Spring! Yeah!



Aromatic Profile: Rosewood


Common name: Rosewood essential oil a.k.a. Brazilian Rosewood, Bois de Rose

Genus name: Aniba rosaedona

Supplier: White Lotus Aromatics

Note: Heart

Family: Woody/Floral

Diffusion: 4

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: Vetiver, ylang, petitgrain, cedrat, mace, leerall, b-ionone, hay absolute, guaiac wood, cubeb, ethyl linalyl acetate, ethyl linalool, etc. (TGSC)

Lemon, tangerine, sandalwood, cedarwood, geranium, orange and lavender.

Chemical components: Linalool can be present at anywhere from 73%-99%! a-pinene, camphene, gernaiol, neral, geranial, myrcene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, benzaldehyde, linalool oxides, a-terpineol.

Interesting bits: Rosewood is an endangered species. Whenever possible, purchase from suppliers that are conscious of how they source their rosewood oil. (Aromaweb)

Rosewood oil is rich in linalool, a chemical which can be transformed into a number of derivatives of value to the flavour and fragrance industries, and up until the 1960s rosewood oil was an important source of natural linalool. With the advent of synthetic linalool this use largely disappeared. For those applications where natural linalool is preferred, rosewood oil has been displaced by cheaper alternatives (Chinese Ho oils from Cinnamomum camphora). There does remain, however, a very small niche market for the preparation of linalool derivatives possessing an “ex rosewood” character… Brazil is now the only supplier to the world market… All parts of the tree are fragrant although only the trunkwood is traditionally harvested and distilled. (

Rosewood contains a lot of linalool – an important component in lilac and lily of the valley compounds. Rosewood is a light and floral top note, especially valued in floral compositions and also an important component in Fougere compositions as a supporting note to lavender. Ho wood and ho leaf are very similar to rosewood and are used in a similar manner. (Ayala Moriel)

rosewood oil has more to offer than pure linalool. Its more spicy and complex piquancy can, for example, transform a lily-of-the-valley type perfume and bring it to life, whereas synthetic linalool cannot, having a flatter and more one-dimensional effect (Bo Jensen)

Their nose: Sweet, floral, linalool, woody, fruity, warm.

My nose: The opening of Rosewood essential oil presents a strange heaviness, something reminiscent of sandalwood, there is a seriousness about the oil that I just wasn’t expecting. It’s firm and although it hints at a floral it isn’t flouncy, but a more grounded, earthy floral. After 15min there’s something lemony here, it’s a beautiful salve to my senses, calming  and reassuring. Easy and enduring are qualities that come to mind during this layer. 30min and now it shares commonalities with a note I just can’t place…damnit! The effect goes deep that massages my rough corners, and as I hold on and follow that wave, there’s a mild pepperiness and it’s more plush. The 45min mark reveals a hint of mint in the Rosewood, now there’s a freshness, like a light evening breeze, yep, this note is like a quiet, private retreat. The 1hr mark unveils a soft richness; and while yes, it is thinner, there is a certain importance to the note now. It’s satisfying because of it’s simplicity and there’s a hint of sweetness, too. After 2hrs it’s still alive on the strip and now I can smell a therapeutic, medicinal quality to it. It’s tranquil and makes me pause as it slowly creeps in to work its magic but it is fading. 3hrs and it’s holding up quite well although much weaker now, the floral quality peeks through for a moment and somehow it’s brighter and less sombre than before. Interesting…huh. As the basenotes unfurl at 7hrs I get it! It’s bergamot that this note reminds me of and petitgrain, too. The projection is almost a 2 now but it’s definitely still alive dry and clean on the strip. 12hrs and there’s a very faint, feathery impression of a floral, antique, but it’s just about expired. At 24hrs it is extinct, but somehow there’s a delicate woody, floral reflex, like a fluid, fading motion that ends a conscious action.

12/24 comparison: The heart of Rosewood is apparent at 12hrs for only a few sniffs, then it fades quickly, but there is definitely evidence that it’s still around although delicate and fragile at this point. When I compare it to the 24hr strip I realise it is more alive than my nose originally picked up because now it’s just a faint outline of what it was. Doing these direct comparisons makes me realise that there is more to be gathered from the scent strips than the initial impression but you can’t get it all at once, you can’t be greedy about it, you have to come at it in layers and find ways to get your nose to pick up on the finer details of the impressions.

I hope this profile has been useful for you and that it’s teased you and made your nose curious to find out for yourself what Rosewood could do for your accords.

Have a great weekend!


Aromatic Profile: Ho Wood


Common name: Ho Wood essential oil

Genus name: Cinnamomum camphora ct. Linalool

Supplier: Néroliane

Note: Top/Middle

Family: Woody

Diffusion: 5

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: cedarwood, coriander, frankincense, geranium, blood orange, sweet orange, rose maroc, rose otto, sandalwood, tangerine, ylang ylang extra.

Chemical components: linalool, cis and trans linalool oxide, camphor, gamma terpinene, myrcene. There are six chemical variations/chemotypes of Ho Wood: borneol, camphor, linalool, 1,8-cineole, nerolidol and safrole.

Interesting bits: ….general blender-modifier in a wide variety of compositions due to its soft, sweet bouquet which melds well with almost every type of perfume compositions. (WLA)

The chemical variants (or chemotypes) seem dependent upon the country of origin of the tree. The tree is native to China, Japan, and Taiwan. It has been introduced to the other countries where it has been found, and the chemical variants are identifiable by country. e.g., C. camphora grown in Taiwan and Japan is normally very high in linalool, often between 80 and 85%. In India and Sri Lanka, the high camphor variety/chemotype remains dominant. C. camphora grown in Madagascar, though, is high in 1,8 cineole (averaging between 40 and 50%). The essential oil from the Madagascar trees is commercially known as ravintsara. (Wikipedia)

Though of the same species, Ravintsara and Ho-wood differ in their chemical compositions. Ho-wood’s high linalool content gives the tree bark floral notes, while the high concentration of cineole in the bark of Ravintsara exudes fresh notes…ideal substitute for the significantly pricier rosewood.  Ho-wood adds delicate woody notes to fragrances, along with floral and aqueous facets. (Albert Vieille)

Belongs to the Lauraceae family, the same botanical genus as cinnamon and Ravintsara.

Their nose: sweet, woody-floral bouquet with a delicate balsamic-herbaceous undertone (WLA)

Light, clean, woody, floral-rosy and a little warm, and very diffusive. Ho Wood is a top note much valued in floral and floriental compositions as well as Fougere. (Ayala Moriel)

My nose: The opening of Ho wood is blanched, slightly floral, and there’s something citrusy about it; it has a zing, there is a lift and a radiance, it’s bright, light and happiness. It’s girly! After 15min there is transparency, it’s light, gossamer soft but there is also a textured quality that is a bit rough, as well as a sort of wildness too. I can smell similarities with lavender – that dry, twiggy quality that is so particular to lavender for me. Yes, definitely, arid is the word that comes to mind. The 30min layer is brisk, quick, and brings to mind summer and heat. It’s drier now. This is an innocent scent to me, and is what I imagine a pale wood to smell like, very pleasant. 45min and Ho wood is placid and poetic, resplendent and sunny; gay. It’s a fluttering and a puff and I can smell this in a cologne. After 1hr it seems to be retreating, like’s it’s decided to take a back seat. I can smell commonalities with Santolina (Lavender Cotton), too. Very faded now. 2hrs into the heart note and it seems paper thin! It’s just about disappeared, like a twinkle or the tinkle of a bell. I don’t know how else to describe the smell other than in the form of a sound. After 3hrs the smell is almost gone now but there’s still a hint of something…limonene? It’s clean and dry. Now we’re into the base of Ho wood and at 7hrs the smell is very faint, like it’s almost a dream, like I dreamt the whole experience. Dry and very faint. After 12hrs it’s completely gone, I can’t pick up a thing. 24hrs it’s gone but for the most fleeting citrus impression!

12/24 comparison: Okay, so at 12hrs the smell was pretty much gone, disappeared and what’s interesting is that when I did a direct comparison of the two layers, 12 and 24 hours, I got no real difference between them. I find this really odd because until now I have always experienced a pretty distinct difference but with Ho wood after 12hrs the effect is pretty much the same.

Wishing you a wonderful week!


making scents with ylang ylang extra


Today’s musings on making scents with Ylang Ylang Extra have to do with choices, choices and more choices for building a floral accord — but also with luxury and s*x. When you want to think beyond the classical Rose or Jasmine consider Ylang Ylang in all the various fractions as an open field of possibilities for expanding your olfactive palette.

Common name: Ylang Ylang (pronounced “eelang-eelang”)

Genus name: Cananga odorata

Supplier: Perfumery Art School (part of our kit)

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Diffusion: 7

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with:  Peru balsam, bergamot, carnation, cassie, citronella, grapefuit, jasmine, labdanum, lavender, lemon, melissa, neroli, orange, oakmoss, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, tuberose, verbena, vetiver.  Or why not try blending the various types together to create your own ylang ylang accord, suggests Eden Botanicals.

Chemical components: Linalol, farnesol, geraniol, geranial, benzyl acetate,benzyl benzoate, geranyl acetate, eugenol, methyl chavicol, b-caryophyllene, farnesene, p-cresyl methyl ether and other sesquiterpenes. 

Interesting bits:  Tropical tree native to the Philippines was later adopted in countries like Comoros, Madagascar, Reunion and Indonesia.  Although derived from the same tree, ylang from Comoros and Madagascar have distinctly different compositions and odors. (Biolandes)

The Extra … contains the highest amounts of esters and therefore has the sweetest odor, while the later pressings have a less-sweet odour. The ‘extra’ is not used in aromatherapy, but used in the perfume industry…(Esoteric Oils)

The Extra fraction of Ylang Ylang is the oil that is collected from the first hour of distillation; this fraction of Ylang Ylang is generally the most desirable grade of all the ylang ylang oils and usually comprises about a third to nearly half of the total distillate. It is used mainly in high-end perfumery. The I (first) fraction is from the next 2-1/2 hours, the II (second) fraction from the next 3-4 hours of distillation, and the III (third) fraction is collected from the last hours of the distillation process. Ylang Ylang Complete is a continuous distillation of 6-7 hours, rendering a full-spectrum, non-fractionated (complete) oil. (Eden Botanicals)

Products known as “ylang complete” are available which can be either a blend of the three grades of ylang or the complete oil that results from the full, uninterrupted distillation of the flowers. No uniform standard exists as to when the distillation is suspended and each grade of ylang drawn off. This results in a notorious inconsistency of aroma across the three grades; an experienced nose is required for accurate evaluation. If ylang extra is taken too soon, for instance, many of its outstanding aroma characteristics could show up in the secondary ylang II oil — thereby creating an outstanding ylang II but a weak ylang extra. If the secondary ylang II distillation is allowed to go too long, some of the less fine aroma characteristics of ylang III might show up in the ylang II.

Ylang tends to predominate, so it should be used in small amounts on its own or when blending with other oils. Too much of a good thing might evoke negative effects; restraint is the key to working successfully with ylang. When creating blends, start with amounts that seem too small. Let the blend age for several days before evaluating the aroma, so the power and radiance of the ylang can expand through the blend and reach its ultimate presence. You may find that a blend comprised of as little as 5 to 10% (in aromatherapy) ylang smells like 20 to 30%.


Their nose: Fresh, sweet, floral, slightly fruity, fragrant yet delicate.

Our organic Ylang Ylang Extra is intensely sweet, highly floral, and ethereal, with watery undertones. The intoxicating aroma of Ylang Ylang conjures palpable images of the flowers’ paradisial origins: palm trees swaying over sun-drenched beaches, exotic spices, peaceful island breezes, gossamer rays of moonlight, and the rhythm of the ocean’s song. Such is the power of Ylang Ylang’s amazing aroma for easing the mind, as well as for its effect in the composition of perfumes. It is one of the finest aromatic materials in the perfume industry. (Eden Botanicals)

The standard bearer of all ylang grades is ylang extra, which has a creamy, delicate aroma, never overpowering or too densely sweet. Aroma-sensitive individuals sometimes experience headaches when inhaling the potent ylang III, but usually don’t when inhaling the subtle sweetness of ylang extra. (Auracacia)

An elegant intensely sweet floral odor with a refined vanillic, fruity, spicy undertone. (White Lotus Aromatics)

My nose: Ylang Ylang Extra literally explodes as a thick, floral big-petaled bomb! It’s like the word in Italian “femmena” (really it’s “femmina”, meaning female, but said with a southern Italian accent it comes out as this beautiful, heavy, important word.) There is nothing discrete about Ylang Ylang Extra. It’s evocative, cloying, creamy and dominating.  Ylang Ylang Extra is all that and then some! 15min and now it’s juicy, heady, intoxicating, opening up seriously now, over blown, like a storm of floral power blasting you. 30min and to me this is now like s*x. So far no other floral or material for that matter has made such an impression upon my mind. It’s total sexual abandon. (I had other words to describe it but had to keep this post G-rated ;). S*x without fear, sweet thick, succulent, satisfying, sultry, carnal and of course floral. 45min into the top notes and any hint of submission is only a deception. She’s cheating because later Ylang Ylang Extra comes back! She remains carnal, still s*xually disruptive, but now there’s a hint of green, a bit of shine, but the projection remains powerful. 1hr now but I had a phone call and didn’t evaluate. 2hrs and it’s warm, sweet, still gutsy, a bit more aged but there’s a roundness to the shape, thick, still loaded with this warm sensuality. 3hrs into the heart now and it’s round, bold, extravagant, exotic and voluminous. After 7hrs now Ylang Ylang Extra is wonderfully soft, plumy, warm, floral, like late summer languishing over a beautiful glass of wine at the golden hour. I can’t believe how bold this layer still is!!! 12hrs later and this is so pleasing. The first inhale brought a smile to my lips. It’s more ethereal now, I can smell commonalities with Rose, but still she remains generous and a sheer delight. The final 24hrs evaluation is WOW! Ylang Ylang Extra is intensely floral, even after a whole day on the scent strip! It remains thick and commanding. But, now it’s expression is much more classically floral and approachable, still a voluptuous, Botticelli beauty! If anyone just a few months ago would have told me that I would have been this overcome by a floral I would have laughed. And not ha-ha-hehe. But ha-ha-WHATEVER! But this just shows me that I am making progress in my olfactory training as I develop an ability to smell beyond my olfactive boundaries set only by my past opinions, culture and a whole host of assumptions!

12/24 comparison: The 12/24 comparison yielded some interesting insights: the 12hr strip was pungent, arresting, consuming; this layer was still powerfully floral! But at this stage I prefer it’s carnal suggestions more. In a straight comparison it’s much more exciting. Which leads me to believe that interacting with other materials this facet of excitement could become highlighted. The brightness is still there. Whereas on the 24hr strip comparing the two, this one is simply beautiful, it’s pure poetry now. There is a fuller appreciation that emerges when you do the comparison that you just don’t pick up on its own! I can appreciate this so much more for how it suggests sensuality during the comparison. The brightness is gone but what remains is a glow, the embers of a wild night that coax you into a warm slumber with a smile on your face.

The gift of this floral is that Ylang Ylang Extra reminds me to luxuriate in all that life is and to take pleasure in the simple things.

Enjoy your mid-week!


lessons in perfumery 7


Of the many lessons in perfumery that are part of our never ending training I think this one is one of the most important, especially when one is self-taught: our life is our classroom – if we allow it, and we continue to learn about perfumery even after we finish evaluating or composing for the day, the boundaries are set much, much wider.

I get the sense that my formal perfume training is making me a better cook, (yes, I can almost here you saying, ‘no, duh!'”).  But honestly, it was not something I expected, not at all.

The other day I made an appetizer for dinner of octopus and potatoes (and no, LV is not undernourished), some tuna on the side, yummy bread from our favourite local baker and a luscious green salad.

What I began to notice was a growing confidence as I threw in a bay leaf (LV’s suggestion – I thought he was comatose in front of the tele but then he chimes in with that!), some lemon juice, a bit of salt from Cervia, potatoes, parsley of course and voilà! But the real surprise was this was all done with nary a taste of the spoon! I made a dish with my nose and instinct alone, something I would never had had the belief in myself to do before. A few days agoI had also managed a ravioli filling (brasato, lonza and mortadella) all without tasting it that even my mother and sister-in-law and LV (the official family taster) said was near perfection – oh, the goosebumps.

Wowwww. I stood there in wonder like a child on Christmas day, inwardly ogling my gift. This gift was nothing I could actually touch but it was precious just the same:  my success in the kitchen had brought me to a new level of awareness and application, confidence really, with my nose. One tiny step at a time I am becoming a perfumer, it was an awareness that descended upon me like a gentle spring rain, that I was beginning to trust and make use of the connection between my nose and my brain.

Let yourself be taught by everything around and within you. As a perfumer in training the only walls we encounter are those created in our mind when we fail to find words that adequately describe our olfactive experience in the moment. Therefore, to move beyond those restrictions it’s important to let life teach us all that we need to know about the olfactive arts.

With this I pose a Christmas challenge: over the holidays, try to see how many smells you can train your nose to remember that are specific to this particular holiday season then, in January let’s see how many we can actually remember!  Leave a comment if you want to join in.

With one more post coming before the new year, have a wonderful weekend!



making perfumes with palo santo essential oil


Musings on making perfumes with Palo Santo essential oil: holy smokes is this oil interesting! I had no idea! It’s totally given me a whole different appreciation for this oil as a perfume ingredient.  In doing the research for this post I realise that my sample of Palo Santo is from the flowers but I’m finding that most oils are harvested from the heartwood. So of course I now need to try the heartwood version. Researching this oil led me to some interesting revelations into my perfume project and what to trust in myself as I develop this art. Since my thoughts were to profile Palo Santo as a possible addition in the heart of my perfume I really focused my attention on what it expressed between 1-3 hours. This material is incredible!  This is a long profile but well worth it, trust me:

Common name: Palo Santo, (Holy Wood)

Genus name: Bursera Graveolens

Supplier: Neroliane  (obtained by hydro distillation from the flowers of the plant)

Note: Top to Heart

Family: Wood

Diffusion: 6

Dilution: 10%

Blends well with: jasmine, grapefruit, cedar wood oils, frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh, vetiver, champa flower, white sage, patchouli, lavender, neroli, rose, ylang ylang, benzoin, iris root, oakmoss, tolu, tonka, vanilla, cistus, oudh.

Chemical components: limonene 58.6%, a-terpineol 10.9%, menthofuran 6.6%, carvone 2%, Germacrene D 1.7%, y-Muurolene 1.2%, trans-Carveol 1.1%, Pulegone 1.1%. Neroliane has this particular version containing also: b-bisabolene, para-cymene and forneol.

Interesting bits: the tree belongs to the same family as Frankincense and Myrrh. Palo santo is a wild tree native from Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula to Peru and Venezuela. The aged heartwood is rich in terpenes such as limonene and a-terpineol. Chemical composition, as reflected by aroma, is variable. It’s use reportedly dates back to the Inca era.  The aromatic wood of palo santo has also been used in South America to make barrels for ageing wine and beer. (Wikipedia)

The genus Bursera is named after the botanist Joachim Burser, who lived from 1583 – 1649; graveolens is Latin for “heavy, penetrating odour”. The natives say that the tree can live for 50 years without water! The tree does not have a long tap root, but instead has superficial roots that allow it to absorb water quickly; this is similar to frankincense, which in some cases has no roots at all, just a base that attaches to rocks. Palo Santo is obtained from the wood after the natural death of the tree, or from pieces found on the ground. To retain its special properties, the dead tree must lay on the ground for another 3- 6 years before harvesting the wood for its “holy” properties.  The wood is then cut into sticks or ground into sawdust to form incense cones.  Essential oils can be extracted from the tree but will only produce any essences if the tree goes through the process of natural death and resting for 6-10 years. After a natural death, the Palo Santo tree will remain standing for several years. In Peru, Palo Santo wood is harvested under government supervision by the natives of the Peruvian jungle. In Ecuador for every tree used for the oil, about forty new trees are planted.During the first part of the distillation the oil is a light yellow colour has more top notes of citrus.  At the end of the distillation the oil is more gold in colour and has more of the base notes of the wood. In the regions where Palo Santo grows poverty was endemic but the gathering of the wood, distillation of the oil and handicrafts made from the wood provide income and livelihood for local communities. One large tree can give up to 20 litres of oil, which is worth about $4,000.00 USD wholesale to international clients; it will also provide about $2,000.00 in medicinal sticks and another $1,000.00 in incense.   This is enough to support seventeen families for one month on normal wages.  This is especially significant for women who are the majority of the people working with Palo Santo. (

“To harvest palo santo oil, only dead trees that have been left lying on the ground for a minimum of two years can be used. The resin is driven into the hardwood when the wood dies and matures, thus developing its unique and powerful chemistry. The average life of the Palo Santo tree is between 80 and 90 years.” (Floracopeia)

Their nose: citrus with resinous wood notes, fresh, soft, gentle, musky (Floracopeia) Woody, sweet, with citrus and mint undertones (Eden Botanicals) Aromatically speaking I find this material challenging as the top note is an utter whirlwind of strong fragrance types and you can never be sure what will greet you first. The notes I detect are; yellow biting lemon, entwined with honey and marshmallow sweetness, fresh water mint with Catnip idiosyncrasies and creamy notes I associate strongly with Pemou and santal austrocaledonicum. Also I must add I find every individual note is somehow encapsulated within a light spice and delicately charged herbaceous bouquet. A drop on my wrist lasts 30 minutes and I only detect water mint and creamy wood notes for the final twenty minutes. Perfumers this is fascinating experimental material that in trace amounts will provide a rebellious and outlandish edge to herbal, culinary or creamy wood compositions. (Adam at Hermitage)

My nose: this opens with a top note that is sharp and terpene-like; wet, shiny, menthol quality, bracing, like the wind at sea, uplifting, spirited. 10:15 all I can smell is the terpene flash and menthol, but there is definitely a sweet aspect hanging out somewhere in the background. It’s like sucking in a lung full of cool night winter air when you’ve been house-bound for days! 10:30 It’s alive! Expressive, still terpenic and I can still smell mint (menthol) bright, vibrant. Do I smell spices, here?! But there is a nuance of black pepper or something spicy. 10:45 the terpenic facet is now subsiding, leaving a minty, cold impression – woody is not the first impression I get from this material. It’s enigmatic, abstract almost. 1hr and the heart opens into an assertive space, it’s lost the opening terpenic pitch so now it’s settling down into contemplation, but it’s not lost its radiance. 2hrs later and oh, its heart simmers beautifully, like liquid gold. There is a hint of citrus, lemony note in the heart, sort of a jagged dry down, but bright still. After 3hrs ahhhh, the sweetness is the main greeter here, wonderful change from top to heart, more smooth, elegant and less brash now. 7hrs into the dry down and there’s a balsamic, sweet, vanilla tolu-like quality to Palo Santo, more sombre and relaxed, but with a nod to its youthful exuberance of the top notes.  After 12hrs it’s light and airy and I can still pick out the citrus note, galantly holding its own even after 12 hours! Still perceptible as a whole. It’s got grip! 24hrs on and Palo Santo even though almost gone now, is beautiful, creamy, candy sweet with a hint of mint; it has a soft dry down.

12/24 comparison: the 12hr strip still has the terpenic qualities and it’s still has sharp and jagged edges. The 24hr strip doesn’t. It’s more rounded and has almost disappeared.




making perfumes with orriniff


Making a perfume and need a floral volumizer? Does your perfume composition need something to give it a hint of Orris root and not sure what your options are? Think about Orriniff when making perfumes with a floral, ambery facet.

Scientific name: methyl norbornenylpyridine (mixture of isomers) 25% in isopropyl myristate

a.k.a.: Orriniff 25%

CAS#: 110-2-0

Supplier: Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: Heart

Family: Floral

Dilution: 10%

Diffusion: 9

Their nose: “orris, floral, violet, leather, fresh, wood” (TGSC) “Orris, mimosa, violet leaf, amber complex with a leather, woody nuance. Imparts warm orris amber tones to fragrances.” (IFF)

My nose: Orriniff opens sharp and shiny, a bit pungent, twinkling and abstract. Almost immediately it becomes warm, definitely something sweet about it.  15min and it’s sweeter still, opening up boldly in a round way. It’s harmonious, warm yet there is a hint of coolness at the fringes; cloudy, fluffy and evocative. 30min now and there’s a piercing quality about it, icy almost, a musky membrane seems to surround it but it’s a very light impression, pristine, it nuzzles you like a kitten frisky and energetic, yes, this note has energy! 45min now it’s a happy note! Joyful, celebration, it’s radiant, a tinge of floral sweetness, there is a sense of promise with Orriniff, it’s rousing and moves you to take notice, to wake up. After 1hr it’s still powerfully sweet, still plume-like and billowy, tendrils that flow forever; the colour I get is copper, I hear bells, the trill of an old tower bell in a town square.  That’s never happened before that I heard a sound while sniffing!  2hrs on and sweet, always sweet, still stretched out in prideful glory, a blanket of time held suspended, linked with late spring early summer, soothing.  After 3hrs sweet still remains the first impression, blossoms floral, slight creaminess, it is a sweet caress, I smell laundry. Into the base at 7hrs and the extension of Orriniff is incredible! Dominant and powerful it’s pitch hasn’t waned one bit, no impression of this settling down at all; it’s embracing and yes, exciting, something about it makes my heart beat faster. 12hrs later and it’s just now becoming a more gentler, subdued version of itself, balmy and very comforting. I still get fragrant blossoms even a bit of something succulent. Now a full 24hrs this is the first scent I smell when entering the studio! But, now the expression is more thin, and yes, I can smell commonalities with Safraleine. A side of aggressiveness still lurks in the shadows but it is still soft and inviting and pleasurable!

Blends well with: ambroxan, amyris, bergamot, wild carrot seed, rosewood, alpha ionone, labdanum, vetiver, oakmoss, patchouli, raspberry keytone, etc. (TGSC)

Considerations: Orriniff will last up to 48hours on a scent strip and it gives a composition a floral lift and adds volume, sort of like hairspray in the 70s.

All the best for a wonderful Wednesday!



walnut and vanilla tincture


Honestly, this walnut and vanilla tincture started out as (and really is) a ‘digestivo’ or digestive! Totally LV’s idea from an ol’ recipe of his great grandparents or something but it’s mainly made of walnuts from the many walnut trees that grow here in our little hamlet.

Around the end of June LV got inspired by some story his mum had told him about his ‘peeps’. Then he went out and gathered between 30-33 chestnuts, cut them up in large pieces and of course he had to go rummaging around in my spice cabinet and got all turned on by my prized Hotu Vanilla from Tahiti that I used in my oh-so-decadent vanilla-cognac tincture.  I was feeling generous so I let him have a couple pods. Then he added a stick of cinnamon, 2 litres of 96° grain alcohol and 500gr of white sugar.

The tincture is dark and a bit syrupy with a really nice woody quality to it. Full aromatic profile will be provided soon.

I knew I would like the liqueur which turned out to be amazing, seriously. It has a wonderful round, smooth quality to it and not at all bitter as I suspected. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much I would like it as a tincture.

There you have it, our latest liqueur/digestive of which I confiscated 20ml for my tincturing experiments, which only seems fair.

Have a merry weekend! (can you tell I just can’t wait for Christmas?!)