Natural Perfumers Guild Outlaw Perfume Project
I am participating in a perfume project with my fellow natural perfumers focusing on restricted natural perfumery ingredients. The list of essential oils restricted by IFRA is long and senseless. Reading how many beloved classic scents have been reformulated beyond recognition due to these regulations was my inspiration for creating 'Gypsy' Eau de Parfum.
The way the project works is a small group of indie natural perfumers create a scent highlighting many of these restricted botanicals. We feel the restrictions on orange blossom or lavender for example is needless and overly restrictive. These natural botanicals are beautifully fragrant and the public should get to decide for themselves if they wish to buy an artisan scent containing these elements. After creating our "Outlaw" perfumes we send them to bloggers, critics and each other to sample. The excitement I feel checking the mailbox and finding a luxuriously crafted scent from another perfumer is beyond palpable! I feel lucky to get to experience these creations, each perfumer with his or her point of view clearly represented in a tiny vial . . . little works of art to share.
I'd like to share with you the experience of collaborating in this project. Included in this post are the materials I sent out to participants. Each package contained a sample of my new scent Gypsy, the above illustrated postcard and a letter explaining my thoughts on creating Gypsy. The letter I sent is printed below.
O.K. so maybe describing my perfume ‘Gypsy’ as a fougère is stretching it a bit! Maybe sweet amber fougère, or fougère light might be a little more accurate. I can say that ‘Gypsy’ is redolent with typical components of fougère perfumes such as lavender, oakmoss, tonka and linalool. The Main notes of Gypsy EDP are listed below.
Top Notes: Galangal, Lavender, Lemon Petitgrain, Cardamom
Heart: Pink Lotus, Bulgarian Lavender Absolute, Violet Leaf
Base Notes: Tonka, Oakmoss, Vetiver, Patchouli, Costus, Vanilla
In creating this blend I wished to focus on Pink Lotus, utilizing this gorgeous absolute in a different type of perfume. Often lotus is used in watery, ethereal types of blends and thought it would be interesting to create a scent replete with coumarin and herbs that allowed the pink lotus to sing.
Most of the botanicals used in comprising Gypsy Eau de Parfum are posted on IFRA’s list of banned/restricted ingredients. In fact, many perfumes I make would be considered “outlawed.” The lengthy list IFRA has posted is extreme and seemingly contradictory. I have read many times that 95% of the fragrance chemicals used in traditional synthetic perfumes are petroleum derived, and these same chemicals are posted on the EPA’s hazardous waste lists. Yet, I’m not allowed to use a little orange essential oil in a natural perfume? At times the cynic in me can’t help but wonder if the surge of interest in ecology and the environment, and consequently natural perfumery hasn’t hastened the rate of IFRA’s cries of danger regarding the usage essential oils and absolutes. Natural and niche perfume sales are on the rise as consumers become more aware of what they spray on their skin and ever weary of the rehashed celebrity scents that all smell the same.
In conclusion I was inspired to create and name my perfume ‘Gypsy’ after frequent nightly readings of the gorgeously illustrated book Madeline and the Gypsies by Ludwig Bemelmans, a favorite of my children. Finishing the perfume in October I am reminded that I dressed as a gypsy for Halloween many years as a child, complete with well-worn tarot cards handed over from my bohemian mother. Upon encountering an adult who would remark, “Oh look, she’s a little gypsy! She even has those fortune card things—isn’t she cute?” I would develop a knack for staring solemnly into their eyes and gravely flipping over the DEATH tarot card, sadly shaking my head while saying—“Things don’t look good for you.”
I hope to post more on the fabulous perfumes I received from my fellow perfumers in the days to come.