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Monthly Archives: August 2011

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  • an early autumn sunset bottled

    Here is a lovely early autumn treat: Une Rose chyprée described by Justin Friedman in Viral Fashion Magazine.

    Enjoy this edition online, by following this link to the article.

    And while you do this, I start packaging the Tableau de Parfums MIRIAM samples. I got the DVD that Brian made for me as complimentary addition to the samples, introducing the world of Miriam, and other stories in Woman's Picture.

    I see that I can put up for you some pictures on this blog soon.

     

  • shifting

    It is almost September. The roses are still in bloom but you can feel how they bring out the last buds for this year. The sun is changing its course, the evening light breaks out in yellow colors and the shape of things says: Autumn. The temperatures, the light, the perspective: All is shifting. Usually, the autumn brings a lot of perfume ideas and looking into my excel, where I store all formulas and experiments, even the very ugly ones, then this excel tells me that late autumn is the most creative part of the year.

    Do not ask me why.

    The excel file mentioned above, is on some sheets uncharted territory and fun experiments, on some sheets a walk around always the same block without moving much, and on some sheets a chamber of horror. Experiments that fail and did not survive the first week in the experimental bottles. I mix all my experiments to a virtual equivalent of 1000 units. These 1000 units translate into 12.5 gr/ml mixtures. Diluted this gives about 50-100 diluted fragrance. Thus, in my mixture you find from 1 virtual unit (12. 5 mgr/microliter) to a few hundred of overdosed components everything. The base of 1000 units helps to compare formulas. It is easier because everything you add in a mixture is always a part of 1000. Most of the 30 ml flacons with these mixtures do not survive, though. Especially when iterating around the final hurdles, these mixtures will -once the perfume is considered finished- all be incinerated. They rest in peace and turned into what all matter is: Stardust.  But the formulas stay in Excel, as I do not through any of them. They just sit there and one day, when excel does not exist anymore, they will be gone, too.

    Thus, the rose petals are falling in late summer. But they are still very fragrant. And I come back to last weeks musing on roses, and roses for Monsieur. There is one formula for this in the excel, yet. But it is not mixed, yet. This mixture is still breeding in my head. And -no offense- so far the recommendations "dark, vetiver, nasty, not ugly" , well, somehow it did not make "click" in my head. Thus, I continue adding notes in my brain and play with the formula in the excel. Patience, dear readers.  Well, maybe I do not see "Monsieur" yet.

    I guess I need to look at the rose seriously as it starts to bother me; this translates into looking at Monsieur a little bit more in detail. Monsieur = ?

    But first things first: Today sees us doing a lot of tables in another excel file. Pack lists.Price lists. One day, I will need the list listing the lists.

    Until we are there: Enjoy the rose petals, scanned yesterday, picked fresh from a fainting rose.

     

  • the sweet smell of a career change

    Today, I invite you to listen to Vero Kern and me in a joint radio show in English, moderated and prepared by Susan Stone from Berlin. She met us in Zurich and is a wonderful journalist.

    You can click here to the piece on the Deutsche Welle.

    Enjoy!

  • the thing with roses

    I guess have a thing with roses. Thus, here comes the promised post on rosy matters.  I got a lovely mail today, where someone admires what I do with roses. These mails are of course lovely to read, but here is the truth: The trick is quite simple. Just use the real thing.

    You remember my playing with bases for later use in soaps? One series of experiments was a base for a rose soap. The other day I picked the base again and found it rosy enough and good enough to be eventually used as sort of "universal rose base". It is rather simple, consisting of 12 ingredients, among them rose absolute, rose CO2 (both r. damascena), geranium essential oil in an overdose, additional citronellol and phenylethanol; and of course some nerol and geraniol. Without the naturals the mixture would smell like a cheap rose, a "terpenoid alcohol based " rose, but you would definitively say rose!. Actually, you would probably say "rose" when you smell citronellol by itself.

    By the way: I do not use a citronellol or geraniol that is isolated from natural source, but I use a quality that is synthesized. Price wise it does not matter much. The standard quality at SIAL.com is 84 Francs per kilo, the quality isolated from natural sources is 118 Francs per kilo.

    I have no comparative information on the sustainability of the two different production methods. It might well be that the natural quality is a bit less sustainable as the way to the product is a bit more complicated. But I guess it does not matter here. What matters is that the quality of the two are identical. They are 97% pure and smell the same. And they are quite cheap.

    Additional molecules that you find in the base are: A touch Iso E super to fix it, a hint ionones to add floral powder, and a few drops of Methylpamplemousse, adding a bit of vibrant silvery citrus cest, again making the mix a bit lighter.

    But, the most important ingredients, are the two natural rose isolates: The absolute and the CO2 extract from Ecomaat. Together with the top notch geranium oil, they add the twist to this basic rose base; they add the spices, the depth, the honeyed dirty undertone, the richness that you do not get even when putting more different molecules into your mix.

    This is the trick. Not much more. Just use the real stuff. The total base comes to 450 Francs per kilo. That's the price you have to pay for a real rose base. Actually, compared to the rose absolute  per se it is a bargain (rose absolute sells for about 4000 $ per kilo, if you buy large quantities), and after I have clicked the publish button of this post, I will start playing with the rose base, and see whether it can be used outside of soaps, too.

    Actually, it might be time for a rose pour lui. Or something like it.

    I wish you a lovely weekend.

     

  • Getting ready for the pentachords

    This is a short post, as I am a bit tired after preparing a few things for the upcoming PENTACHORDS launch, and because of the heat that starts to drain energy from my brain, putting it somewhere else and as I have to hit the bike to go downtown to meet with partners.

    The pentachords are ante portas so to say and in early September we will start shipping samples. The full 50ml sized fragrances will ship after Pitti, September 12. Probably, I will put them on preorder before Pitti. All is ready now. We got samples, the little sample cards for the discovery set, the fragrances and the picture and even the category picture for my online shop. You see this picture on the left.

    Now, I just have to wait, because I promised to Campomarzio that I will not start shipping and selling before September. I am not good at waiting.

    But there we go: Another good exercise on my long, long way to Nirvana.

  • a word on vintage

    It is a question of style and of exclusivity: Vintage perfumes are pointers and gateways into a past we seem to remember but cannot really grasp. A post that is gone. A world that is different to our world. Today's post is , as promised, on Miriam, the first fragrance of the Tableau de Parfum series, built up together with Brian Pera, around Woman's picture. If you are new to the concept: I invite you to visit Evelyn Avenue, as it is on Evelyn Avenue where you find all information and more. There, we are building a world of moving pictures, perfumes and words, a gateway into a past as we remember it.

    I mentioned a couple of times that I constructed Miriam like a vintage fragrance. Maybe of the 40-ies. But what is a vintage fragrance like? Any ideas?

    First, and I feel this is important, vintage perfumes are for us like a door opener to a time long gone. They evoke memories of aunts, or grand mas, of actors and a world of long gone celebrities, vintage perfumes bring back ads that are so different, evoking reveries of style and true passion, of a better life, maybe.

    Imagine the world right after WWII. A world of winners and losers, and of great poverty. Europe in ashes and most of the money gone, and a lot of other, ideal values, too. Perfume back then was true luxury. Not the cheap bling bling pseudo luxury of LV bags and other stuff and the plastic surgery equivalent of joy you are getting when leaving your $ on the counter to buy them. We live in a world where perfume has become a commodity, and a spritz every day from the flacon of the most expensive brands cost you less than your Starbucks latte grande every morning.

    Why were perfumes so expensive? They were made in lower quantities, using exclusive ingredients, in a much less integrated economy, where energy was precious, paper was precious, glass was precious. Perfumes were not sold by millions, not packed in low wage corners of the world.

    But there is another difference. It is about fragrant languages or dialects of a period. Look back 30 years: Back then perfumes spoke to us in a different language. In the past perfumes were constructed differently, and in the future they will speak a different dialect, too. The further we dig into the fragrant languages of the past, the more different they get to what we are used to. Perfumes of the 40-ies and beyond feature true head, heart, base notes, often with head notes singing loud and brilliant but never offensive, an immense citrus choir that you do not get today anymore, except in natural colognes; they shine differently, partly because the artificial bright light of certain molecules was not invented yet. Perfumers constructing perfumes in the 30-ies used bases that you do not get anymore. And they were braver. Perfumes made 50 years ago or 100 years ago were braver; today perfumes are shocking by their marketing. They are labelled with names that remind you of a quote from a dirty street corner, they are said to smell of blood, semen, and other juices, they play with sexy images without sex appeal. The sexy marketing lines cannot cover, however, their nature.

    Vintage perfumes are often very brave constructions; equivalent courage and style you find today if you are lucky in nicher niche.

    And perfumers used raw materials that either do not exist anymore or are hard to get; or perfumers used expensive raw materials in quantities that you do not find in modern day perfumes because modern day perfumes are made to serve many more clients.

    Of course, Miriam is not a vintage perfume. It points back in time. I used raw materials such as sandalwood or violet leaf absolute in quantities that you do not get on a daily basis. I composed it in a way that feels like 40-ies to me. I tried to pack it in a way that feels vintage to me. But of course, it is not a real vintage. It can never be. The 40-ies are gone.

    To finish this post, here is a description of Miriam, as I see it and how I described it to Brian a couple of months ago.

    ---

    MIRIAM:
    The dream of a hug, the vivid bitter sweet memory of her perfume,
    her hair shining golden in the morning sun, so fine,
    the violets from the garden in her hand,
    freshly picked with the dew pearls dropping one after the other,
    the green May roses on the table, lasting forever.
    It is a dream of days long gone, with a smile on my lips.

    ---

    Today's  picture: The front of the Miriam flacon, inside the cardboard inlay, sitting on a wireless keyboard.

     

  • a hot day ahead

    Before I post more on Miriam et al tomorrow: Yesterday was very hot, today is going to be quite hot, too. Hot because the temperatures outside have reached high summer levels.  And also because we sort of get into first activated level in preparation of Tableau de Parfums, Pitti and as we face a few supplier and sourcing issues.

    In a sense, this is going to be normal.  A product like a boxed and labeled perfume has a supply chain of about 10-20 different direct contact suppliers. In the second row, suppliers who supply my suppliers to produce my products, it is of course much more. Thus, quite frequently I  need to try new solutions, optimized solutions, different solutions.

    In a sense it is always fascinating to see where all the parts come from and how they fit together. But usually, when I think about my supply chain, it is because one of the many chains is broken or not working properly or endangered to work properly.

    While it is so hot, we dream of cool mountain valleys. Today's picture shows you a larch cone, taken home with me from a hike in the mountains, scanned.

     

  • certificat d'enregistrement

    yesterday, after the hike, back home, I opened the mail and finally got it: The Certificat d'Enregistrement of TABLEAU DE PARFUMS as European trademark. I was expecting it, as I got a few letters from fake trademark offices asking for fees.

    Thus, the acceptance of the mark, we see a lot of $ less on the bank, and one trademark more protected in the US, CH and EU. It is amazing how much needs to be invested into a brand beforehand before you even sell one simple sample or bottle. Even if you do this on a small and moderate scale, like we do, it is a lot of $ that sits in the warehouse and in certificates and bits and bytes. There are two more items for the warehouse, coming next week, no actually three: The DVD, the purse spray that I will get next week and the novelette that I will get printed next week. And then we can start. It is more than a year since we started.

    The DVD and the novelette, by the way, are a part of the 50 ml perfume packaging, a complimentary addition, introducing and seducing into the world of Woman's picture and Miriam.

    As the W.-factor who happens to be my bookkeeper told me on the way back from the groceries this morning: "it is about time that you start selling this baby!"

    "Sure will", I replied. "We start October. Slowly,first in the US, on Evelyn Avenue and on Luckyscent. And then the rest of the world will follow. No worries there."

    Next week, I wish to explain a few more details on Miriam, why I love luckyscent and I feel it will be time for another rosy post. Stay tuned and enjoy your weekend.

  • Wood and Jeans

    I will soon hit the road for Austria; culture on the horizon! And tomorrow, I take a day off, switching the Saturday with the Friday, for a hike. While doing so, and sweating under a late summer sun, I will continue thinking perfume. Hiking is always very inspiring. I can play with notes and amounts in my head,  build new lines and come up with entire fragrant empire without having to face these with reality by actually mixing.

    There is nothing more thrilling that drawing scented castles in the air.

    While searching for a nice picture going with today's post, I came across the one you see to the left. I cropped the central part, wood and jeans. Actually, that picture is quite nice, with the blue and the beige tones, and "Wood and Jeans" or "in the wood with jeans" would be a nice perfume name. Kind of a male fragrance that complements the "Fruitchoulis" from last week.

    So you see: It is an endless journey this perfumery journey.

    Enjoy your day!

  • 3 weeks until Pitti Fragranze

    In three weeks I will get ready for Pitti Fragranze in Florence. With this in mind, I visited my bike mechanic guy to announce my bike for repairs. I used it on a daily basis and hence figured that these 5 days where I am at Pitti might be ideal to get my bike's age related its and bits fixed. The mechanic's workshop looks and smells like you would expect it. A lot of metal parts, grease on fabric, and their typical smell. Actually, a bike mechanic workshop smells better than a car workshop. It might be a difference in grease, the missing gasoline aspect, who knows?

    He, the mechanic was very happy. Finally a client who announces his broken bike early enough. And I am happily looking forward to riding a shiny all functional bike again. And the workshop brought back memories of my Hyacinth and a mechanic experimental scent. (Reviews of this experiment see this search on : Google.com ) This together with my fiddling lately for a fragrance for Ingrid, the third woman portrait on Woman's picture.

    I am sort of very unhappy there and I realized today, while dreaming in sample making stasis, that I need to rethink my previous work. I always felt that what I had worked on was not right, but could not pinpoint it. I tried to build a fragrance for this third woman picture around hyacinth. But I come to the conclusion that this starting point is wrong. Thus, I feel I will go to field zero there.  The moment I realized this (sniffing the latest versions on my wrist) I was relieved.  By knowing what not to do, I know what to do next.

    To be frank with you, my dear reader, I remain somewhat obscure here, worrying that I start confusing you. We have not even launched the first fragrance from Tableau de Parfums, and yet I am talking about the third one. But this I can tell you: Ingrid is a very sensual woman. There is something very deep and a sad note in her face. She for sure can wear a rich, oriental, musky, dark fragrance.  Thus, I am working on Ingrid's fragrance, but do not like to talk too much about it, as it still far away.

    On the other hand, this is reality. Perfumes do not fall from heaven. When I started discussing the whole Tableau de Parfums project idea, I always underlined that creating perfumes is not easy and sometimes takes a lot of time. The W.-factor always says (he got it from somewhere) "it is 95 % transpiration and 5% inspiration.  Right now I am sweating. But the 5% told me today "Myrrh". And Sandalwood. And the rest we will see.

    Today's picture: Another rose scan. I am a big rose lover!

     

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