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 🙂



aromatic profile: geranium, bourbon

geranium bourbon essential oil

Common name: Rose Geranium

Genus name: Pelargonium graveolens, P. roseum (Geraniaceae)

Supplier: John Steele via Perfumer’s Apprentice

Note: mid-base

Main chemical compounds: Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellyl formate, Isomenthone.  The Bourbon type is characterised by high levels of 6,9-guaiadiene.

Some interesting bits: Geranium, bourbon is an evergreen perennial and most come from countries in N. Africa: Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. It is a drought and heat tolerant plant and is not frost-hardy. Oddly enough, Geranium Bourbon has nothing to do with the Geranium genus species! The majority of the EO comes from the leaves and the stalks not the flower and it is produced by steam distillation. The main difference between the Madagascar, Chinese and Egyptian oil is their high Sequiterpene levels. Geranium Bourbon is one of the most used EOs in perfumery.  And to the untrained nose it is often mistaken for Rose essential oil. What I found most unusual in my research is that Geranium can smell like so many different things: rose, citrus, mint, coconut, nutmeg as well as various fruit.

Their nose: The Bourbon oil is the most valuable. It has a very powerful, green, leafy-rosy odour with a pronounced fruity-minty undertone and a rich, long-lasting, sweet-rosy dryout. (Olfactik.com)…..

…displaying a suave, complex,  fresh, sweet, green herbaceous  bouquet with a delicate and balanced, fruity, minty, roseaceous undertone. The herbaceous rosy note lasts deep into the dryout. In my estimation the fruity note intermingled with the above mentioned olfactory qualities is what distinguishes it from Rose Geranium from South Africa (White Lotus Aromatics)

My nose: my first impression was that it smells like Lychee fruit!  Fresh, floral, rain, sharp yet inviting, but definitely fruity…and pink!

1 hour later and it’s much, much drier.  I can smell the floral aspect at this point and it’s quite sweet but light and soft, it seems to enter right into my heart area giving me a sense of joy and peace. I can smell similarities with lavender that I didn’t smell the first time, which is the Linalool that they have in common.

3 hours into the drydown and it still has a powerful presence but I can now smell the citrus note more clearly.  I say it’s a mid to base note, but still fresh and light.

1 day after and it’s nice. dry. soapy. floral and still very present.


aromatic profile: Isoamyl Salicylate


Hmmm, think I got this one too from Perfumer’s Apprentice. The industry description is herbal, floral, clover, azalea, green, sweet, chocolate.

Right off the cap there is a roundness to this smell that is almost natural for a synthetic, it’s so soft it almost meanders as it trails along.

1 hour later and wow, I’m still loving this one, it’s even sweeter now, still feminine.  Nice.

3 hours into it and this is pervasive almost all I can smell when I walk into the room, but still stout, light and playful, really lovely.

1 day later and it’s almost one dimensional and without character but still pleasant.

Probably the first synthetic that I’d say I’d use in a formulation…there’s lots more to explore but for this week we’re done with the synthetics and next week I can get into the more complex, much more involving naturals.

I’ve also got some skin serums that I’ve got to get making, some more Lichen and Spruce and Cedarwood resin I need to get tincturing that we collected on our walk last Sunday, and last but not least do a dry (so to speak) run of the distillation to get it ready for my first try which will be Linden flowers!…and of course there’s still the day job.

Have a great weekend!

aromatic profile: ylang ylang complete

ylang ylang complete essential oil

a.k.a. Cananga Odorata.  The one I have is a complete and is 100% organic, and I got it from John Steele via Perfumer’s Apprentice in USA and of course I’ve already diluted it to 10%.

First impression (between 10:20 – 11:07): drawing from my list of the language of odours – that I posted here which you can download – to my nose it’s soft, warm, generous and definitely sweet.  But there’s also something very sophisticated, elegant and languid about this note, like being on holidays somewhere warm, thick and heavy.

1 hour: it’s grown much softer, more pliable and elastic not as sweet and a bit like…paper?

3 hours: the smell is almost undetectable to my still untrained nose, but what I do detect smells almost powdery, very gentle, softer still, I can almost smell citrus in there??? It is literally magical after 3 hours!

1 Day: it’s still present on the smelling strip but very, very faint, it smells now like a light breeze with hints of lemon in the air

2 Days: the note is wonderfully powdery and sweet, no longer sticking in the throat but floating

White Lotus Aromatics describes it this way: “The absolute is a light green or light golden liquid with a fresh, sweet, delicate balsamic-floral bouquet with an elegant vanilla-floral-balsamic undertone which remains uniform deep into the dryout.”

What are your impressions of ylang ylang?