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Monday, August 29, 2011

Profile of American Perfumer: Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Co.

I was recently interviewed by Ca Fleure Bon for a profile on American Perfumers.  My head is swelling with the attention!  I was brought back to earth by hauling felled trees and branches in the backyard thanks to hurricane Irene, followed by mopping small muddy footprints off the floor.  American perfumer indeed!
In honor of the profile, we are giving away a full size bottle of perfume of your choosing!  Just go to: and enter your choice of perfume and something you learned about moi (blushing.)
To review Providence Perfume Co's complete line and scent descriptions, click here:
Good luck and hope all survived the hurricane safe and sound!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Scents of Summer: Clover, Elderflower and Raspberry Leaf

We specialize in natural perfume!

I recently placed an order for some exotic botanicals from White Lotus Aromatics  and have been waiting with baited breath for their arrival.  Included in my order were Clover Absolute, Elder flower CO2 and Red Raspberry Leaf Absolute, all of which I have never smelled before.  Being the olfactory nerd that I am, I get beyond excited at the chance to smell new essences.  For me, the first spark of excitement comes with getting to smell and mentally catalog the aroma.  The second thrall comes with the excitement of getting to work with the new botanical.  There's nothing more thrilling than breaking new ground with a new essence . . . sort of like a painter getting a new shade of paint.

I was looking forward to blending with the clover absolute I had ordered.  Having lived in rural New England as a child, I have fond memories of lying in the grass, closing my eyes, feeling the sun on my face and smelling the clover flowers.  Clover is so predominate here, it is the state flower of Vermont.  As kids, my brother and I would pick the pinkish-purple clover flowers and pull the petals out and chew the white honey flavored tips. I hoped the clover absolute would live up to my expectations and it did.  As soon as I unscrewed the cap from the bottle, the sweet warm slightly herbaceous scent filled my nose and I smiled remembering my youth.

The Sweet Clover Absolute from White Lotus is a very dark green, slightly viscous material with a scent reminiscent of sweet hay, grass, honey, vanilla and a hint of blond tobacco.  It is lovely!  It is similar to hay absolute (foin coupe) but sweeter and rounder.  In my initial experimenting, sweet clover blends well with fruity essences, beeswax absolute, honey absolute, jasmine grandiflorum and citrus notes.  I look forward to blending more with this rare absolute and would love to create a clover based perfume.  Summertime in a bottle!

The Red Raspberry Absolute is diluted at 30% and is thin, dark brownish green colored and fruity.  Because raspberry leaf is so popular in herbal teas, I immediately thought of fruit tea upon sniffing.  It smells similar to rooibos tea, but is less complex. It blends beautifully with rose absolute and I can imagine creating a mahogany wood accord with red raspberry, agarwood, and patchouli or even a brandy or cognac type accord using the raspberry leaf judiciously.  One of the best things about working with new botanicals is the stir of creative juices.  Ideas for blends pop like popcorn in my head. What would red raspberry be like added to a tincture of freeze-dried raspberries? What if I added that super fruity Jasmine Sambac I have? Would it be great with the sweet clover?  I should try red raspberry with a bit of aged patchouli to smooth it out.  Turkish Rose Absolute + Red Raspberry = Super Rose!

Unfortunately both the Red Raspberry and Sweet Clover absolutes are very dark in color which means just adding a few drops to a blend turns the perfume a dark green color.  As usual, it appears I am drawn to the darkest colored botanicals.  Alas, I see no clear perfumes in my future!

Moving on to the Elder Flower CO2 I ordered, which is actually clear colored and was a disappointment.  Anyone who knows me, recognizes I am a tad bit obsessed with St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur.  I've always had a sneaking suspicion that the liqueur smelled more of pink grapefruit than elderflower, but had high hopes for the Elder flower co2 I ordered.  The Co2 has been diluted at 50% and I find it overly diluted and weak.  The scent is of anise with a slightly sweet medicinal hay-like fecund background note.  I wasn't expecting the elder flower to smell so much like black licorice, and because it's so diluted a good amount must be added when blending perfumes to become noticeable in the final creation.  With some limited dabbling it seems Elder flower blends well with carnation, clove, and ginger enhancing and extending the spice notes and orris, by extending the powdery aroma.  Slight tea like notes emerge after a few minutes and I can picture the elderflower working well in a sweet herbal tea accord.

All three botanicals are rare, sweet, slightly fruity and perfect for summer perfumes.  I look forward to future creations with Clover, Red Raspberry leaf and Elder Flower and am thankful White Lotus stocks such rare lovelies.

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