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Friday, October 8, 2010

Autumn Inspiration

It's been a long hot humid summer here in New England.  My least favorite type of weather.  I loathe humidity: the bad hair days, the oppressive moisture, feeling sweaty while doing . . . nothing, the muggy smoggy heat.  But here comes Autumn, and with it a new found surge of creativity.  There's something about the cool fall weather that inspires me to blend perfume.  The air is clean, the leaves are just starting to change color, the breeze is tinged with hints of woodsmoke.  Seriously . . . even in the city.

After suffering from a lack of creativity over the summer I'm thrilled to be suddenly filled with ideas.  How about I try a Rose Oud blend?  Maybe Rose de Mai, rose otto, spicy nutmeg, deep vibrating oud wood and resins, lightened up with a lemony fresh top note?  Maybe whip up something with that honeysuckle absolute I've been hoarding?  Or maybe I should try and perfect that Gin & Juice scent I've been working on?  A crisp citrus summer blend heavy on the juniper berry, combava petitgrain, lime and jasmine.  I can't be the only perfumer inspired by Snoop Dogg, right?

In a flurry of activity I've now begun macerating fruits and spices in mason jars, setting these tinctures aside for use in future perfume projects.  I've filtered vanilla bean tinctures that have been aging all summer.  I pull out a box of old sample creations I've made.  They're a group I set aside and labelled "BORING."  I unscrew the caps on each bottle smelling intently, applying the perfume to various places on my body to sniff until I've run out of skin.  I inhale and grimace with some and smile with others.  I constantly marvel over how natural perfumes age, many getting better and richer with age, some souring as one note begins to dominate.  I pull out my old notes reading what each sample is comprised of, and compare my initial impressions of the perfume with how it smells now, many months later.  To note, every blend I initially noted as "being top-note heavy" has balanced itself with maturity.  The black pepper, the bitter orange, the petitgrain sur fleurs have mellowed.  I notice the blends with neroli have sharpened.  The neroli appears to have gathered strength in aging, and overpowers a few samples.  Note to self, careful with neroli--it can be tricky.


I discover one gem in the box of samples.  A modification of a blend I have been working on for over a year.  I've labelled it "Spring Blend" and find irony in discovering it at the height of Autumn.  The blend is green and grassy with violet leaf, mimosa, cassie, orris and pink lotus.  I became obsessed with creating this "spring blend" and created many, many unsuccessful mods.  In this version, I can guess I found the sharp green notes overpowering and frustrated added an enormous amount of vanilla to the blend trying to smooth down the sharp green notes.  I had written it off as a failure, but as it's aged it has morphed into something I would no longer label as "BORING."  It's now a sort of green-iris-vanilla scent.  A grassy powdery orris buttery scent that's unlike anything I've smelled before.  With renewed excitement and vigor I vow to perfect this blend.


Bellatrix said...

I wish you luck with your spring :) I am trying to make perfume Santiago (inspired by The old man and the sea novel) but I feel like I missing some notes...

Charna said...

Thanks Bellatrix. I checked out your blog. It appears you and I like the same movies. I love your quote from "American Beauty."
Santiago sounds interesting. Did you use seaweed absolute or choya? Good luck!